Dear January

I don’t suppose I ought to be surprised to find you at once so brief and so long, but, all questions of “ought” aside, I am surprised.  Does anyone get used to time, I wonder, or are we always to be baffled by it, creatures designed for Timeless, caught in today and today and today?

There is reason, though, to be surprised at your balminess: tricking the daffodils to blossom before their time, teasing open windows which we thought to have kept demurely shut, mocking us for the affectation of winter coats and scarves, you overturn any notions of your solemnity. Perhaps in this, like Mr. Frank Churchill, you have “used every body ill,” but your mischievous face is so charming that I, for one, am “delighted to forgive” you.

Besides, you bring gifts to soothe my unsettled expectations:

*The satisfaction of matching nearly all their names to their faces in the classroom before they raised their hands.

*Personalities emerging from behind typed paragraphs.

*An owl on a fence-post, meeting our delighted gaze with perfect equanimity before flying away into the night.

*People who remember me — grace.

*The aforementioned daffodils; also pink camelias.

*The threat of tornadoes never materializing, so that though I woke and heard wind in the night, in the morning nothing was broken or lost.

*New piano music to draw me from the one keyboard to the other.

And so you hasten, January, to the place of your setting, and I hasten from today to today to today, with tomorrow always shining with some new thought, and Timeless promised, an end of bafflement.  But while you’re still here, and while I’m with you, and while the clouds blush in the blue sky and the naked trees and brown field look softer than I’ve seen them in other Januaries, I thought I’d like to tell you that I consider you to be passing in what might be called — though I mightn’t exactly recommend it if you were writing an academic essay — “a very well manner.”

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