January sun storm


I always thought that a tough winter could be more easily endured if we were allowed to hibernate. The problem is we humans still insist on carrying on; we must drive everywhere at all costs, tread those ice-covered walkways, keep everything open, and keep up our production.

Our first winter in Maine has become an initiation. I hear this weather is severe and unusual for even this rugged state, so now I get the opportunity to find out how I can manage this. I am a person who hates being cold, and I generally try to avoid all discomfort.

Maybe it’s not so much about the cold, but the darkness. This is the time of year when we are at the bottom of the pit of winter.  If winter is a place we descend into, then we are just rounding the lowest point. The next few weeks will be the turn-around. Soon the days will contain a sliver of extended daylight. Technically, they already are getting ever-so-slightly longer. I noticed it last night as there was a tinge of lingering red light in the west after 5:00pm.

There is something about the clarity and the purity of the January sun when it comes out and blesses us. Yesterday morning I drove to the post office and saw the ice forming in the sound. In the afternoon I wanted to get more photos of the salty ice so I drove out to the end of the island, but the raw January sun, low and unrelentingly brilliant, made it almost impossible to shoot photos. Instead I stood there for a few moments and absorbed some pure solar energy. Later, on the evening news, I heard we were receiving the disturbance from some intense sunstorm activity; we might see the northern lights if we tried. I thought about it; at 10:00 pm Bill and I discussed driving to a point of land where we could see the northern sky. But I didn’t want to venture out into the icy cold; it was time to sleep. Besides, I had already had my blast of pure January sun.