Decades ago, George Winston recorded a beautiful piano solo, “January Stars.” A few oft-repeated minor notes and its flowing chords seemed to bring forth a true vision of a star-pierced sky.
Winter brings its trials, but stars never seem to be so magical, brilliant, and abundant as in their full sweep of a cold winter sky. There is that treasured moment before bedtime when stepping into frigid air for a long look at the lanterns of heaven and a moon caught in a pine filtering its shadow tones over the iced silk of snow, silvering the night.
We are aware that this is January, the month of lengthening days and strengthening cold, that it will be followed by February and we will still be wallowing in snow drifts and mumbling about how we need all this like an ox needs a tail full of cement.
But, can tropical residents ever feel that escalation of joyful expectation when mud season appears and our vehicles all become the same color for those of us living on a dirt road? Can they feel that rapture of seeing the first brave crocus blooming in the sunny shelter of a granite foundation? They are deprived of those sighs of relief when we remove the ice grippers from our boots, and put away the wool shirts, heavy jackets, and mittens.
When spring arrives, we don’t worry about how the coconuts and breadfruit are faring; it is time to plant, to execute our winter dreams of gardens and think about how tasty a homegrown tomato will be and about veggies that don’t have the flavor of cold storage. We, along with the bears and skunks, will be out of hibernation, our celebration full-hearted.
The changes in our northern climate are sharp-edged; they make us appreciate their glories when they arrive to reward us. All the whining and grizzling about snow and cold is over, and there will be three wondrous seasons ahead of us.
(May B. Davidson lives in Whitefield.)