January. I think I love it; correction, I know I love it. This hasn’t always been the case; for many years, office bound and staring out of the window at walls, windows, a leaden sky, January seemed anything but lovable, it was a chore to be worked through from the dark morning start to the dark evening finish. But then life changed, the office was left behind, the shirts and ties left to gather dust in the wardrobe and I stepped in to a new existence, one in which January becomes a month full of possibility, beginnings, tantalizing glimpses of the seasons yet to come, beautiful mornings of frost and mist and the chill air invigorating one’s entire body, though don’t stand still for too long lest you freeze on the spot.
I see the snow drops quietly shouting their gentle existence; hellebores, sometimes shyly downcast, sometimes proudly upright (I do love the modern hybrids); catkins dangling idly from the graceful hazel; and buds fat with possibility. January is a time to observe, to scrutinise, to get as close to nature as one can and spot the first stirrings of the new year. Yes it can be dreary, wet, dank, windy in a way that chills one to the core; but through all of this the days are drawing out, the light emerging a little earlier each morning and lingering a little longer each night. And there are good days, there always are, and these are days to be treasured, to point one’s face to the winter sun and draw it down and into one’s soul. They are days for work too: for planting, for clearing, for cleaning and sharpening tools; for flicking thought the pages of innumerable seed catalogues and planning the year head; for thinking about the garden and how it is, how it could be. But don’t rush it, don’t wish January away before you have had the chance to embrace it, to discover its myriad, often minute wonders; January may just surprise you if you allow it and you may just love it too.