Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ahhh Sweet January!

January has always been my favorite month. Yes, I'm serious-my most favorite month and the older I get the more favorite it becomes. There's no single reason why. When I was younger I'm sure it had lots to do with digging into all those Christmas presents just received even though the vacation ended and the school bus was rolling again. Didn't it seem back then that it'd been forever since you'd seen your classmates? After all, it'd been since the year before! Remember how everyone was wearing brand new clothes even if they didn't quite fit?

Included in all the loot my cousins and I'd collected Christmas morning, there most always was something for playing outdoors. Not that we needed toys or props. The outdoors was our year-round playground all on its own. Winter was the best season. Back hills became Olympic mountains perfect for wooden skiis with wooden poles. Simple skiis that you slipped your snow boot into-the front of a boot fitting into a single leather strap. Then off you went on adventurous runs that not even the real Olympics could top.

Just up the road a bit was a bigger hill with a toe line. My aunt and uncle would pack all of us in a car. Then they'd tie a toboggan to the top along with some of those skiis and off we'd go. Both my aunt and uncle were skiers. I remember doing the snowplow down the hill thinking I wanted to ski as beautifully as my aunt way ahead of me-working her way down to the bottom like a swan dancing on water. Later we'd have hot chocolate and saltines in an adjacent country restaurant while our boots and snowpants dried before we headed home.

Of course the creek was where Olympic-style ice skating competitons were held after school-all weekend long and into the night. Going at top speed was exhilarating unless you caught a skate on a clump of reeds!

That uncle of ours was always outside too. Sometimes he'd make us forts out of blocks of snow. We'd make a whole bunch of snowballs. We'd have them ready just in case. We'd carve out peek holes in our forts-making us able to spy on any approaching enemy. We'd divide the fort into areas. There'd be places for secret stuff. Places to store our food supply. Those forts lasted into spring when they'd be replaced by tents that'd get too hot in the summer sun.

January is still my most favorite month of all. I love the snow. I love the harshness and breathtaking beauty of winter. Its stillness fills me with hope. Inspires me. Its freshness invigorates me. Fields decorated in shimmering diamonds-cornstalks left haphazardly-abandoned old barns surrounded by snowdrifts like blankets against the elements add to my feeling Winter in the country is possibly the closest thing to heaven on earth-if you take into consideration making those snow angels underneath millions of dancing silver stars. Ahh sweet January-sweet, sweet January!

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