Friday, January 18, 2008

January's Effects

January has a way of doing things to me. You might guess that what happens in January is hibernation, the effect of darkness, the quiet of the snow. Instead, I often feel a sense of things moving and shifting, as if on some level, I must be able to detect the after-solstice lengthening of the days.

Maybe I'm thinking about all this because a week ago a very good friend converted religions and entered a new decade of life, all in the space of a weekend. Somewhere in there, my talk of spinning into a new phase of life must have got me thinking about the deeper things in life that only rarely write about on this blog. Or maybe it was seeing the past twelve or so years of my life flashing before my eyes, sometimes literally, as I set up my new computer.

Juniper the spinner
Juniper likes the spinning, too, and sometimes checks out the fiber

I'm not kidding about the computer and the flashing. Things really did flash, and it wasn't a trick of the mind or eye. I went quickly through the past seven or so years of digital photos, which is as long ago as my first digital camera. iPhoto for some reason had only imported some of my pictures, so I needed to get it set up in order to download the latest knitting photos. As I merged different collections of pictures together, they literally flashed across the screen. (When there were sets of pictures of the cats, it looked like a movie of squirming and wiggling, I swear). Transferring from Eudora to Mail meant that I had to literally reopen and rebuild files of email that I wrote home during my first semester of college.

So what is it about January? My first January in graduate school, the seclusion of writing papers and exams turned some corner of my brain into a monastic, hermetic retreat. One the one hand, I was totally stressed and anxious (I think I ate nothing but reheat-able, frozen Trader Joe's dinners for two straight weeks I had that little spare time) - and on the other hand I finished the exams, ended a relationship that had gone on far too long, and came out the other side feeling really great. I didn't yet, for that matter, know how to knit, but life was still good.

Tweed Beret WIP
And now I knit with my own handspun!!

This January, we finally got some snow, just like all the Januarys I used to spend in the northeast. On Wednesday night it finally snowed here in this little mountain town, and the world got really quiet and slippery. I drove home from knitting in Asheville through the snow, doing 25 in a 45 zone so I wouldn't slip down the steep slope. I got out of my car. You could hear the hisses of snow and sleet and ice, but not much else. The world had hunkered down by 10 o'clock at night. I woke up yesterday to the sound of drips and told the cats to look for icicles.

Snow in our complex
It's supposed to snow again on Saturday!

This January is not the same as all those other Januarys. But the quiet of the snow and the essential aloneness of writing a dissertation makes me pause and think of Januarys past. I wonder what the next ones will bring?

2 comments:

sgeddes said...

It is really amazing how much things change. Sometimes you don't even realize just how much until you look back on things like that.

The_Add_Knitter said...

I love January, it's my favorite month. It's a relief to have the holidays over yet the winter is in full swing and can be enjoyed.