I’ve flailed about here all morning, trying on a variety of topics for the first post of 2011. I’m feeling intimidated like this is the first post I have ever written, or worse yet, the first post ever written In the History of the World!
I think they call this being melodramatic.
My original plan was to write a follow up to my reflections post by looking forward and listing some of my plans for 2011. It’s not that I don’t have them, it’s just that I’m not inspired to write them out. You see, I’ve never been able to get behind January as the start to a new year.
Throughout my school years and for at least a decade more, it was because I was in the habit of preparing for new beginnings in the fall, at the start of a new curriculum. I’d also say it has something to do with this climate and the fact that I’m a gardener. I’ve lived in Southern Ontario my entire life and can say with authority that not much changes through the months of December and February. With some fluctuation from year to year, it is generally cold and frozen. Sometimes there is snow. Sometimes the snow thaws and then it freezes up again. There is a slight ebb and flow to the winter season; however, rebirth and renewal are not words I would attribute to this time of year.
How am I supposed to be moved to start fresh, create something new, and enact great change when all I want to do is hibernate a little longer? It’s all so forced.
On New Year’s Day I sat on the couch with my phone randomly scrolling through hundreds of saccharine New Year’s cheer and what felt like over-enthusiastic promises for the year ahead. I was happy to have had the time off to decompress from work, but I didn’t feel like getting on any of these fluffed out floats and joining the parade. When I said as much on Twitter, I received several replies from people who were feeling the same as me. Eryn’s reply especially was a reminder that as gardeners a new beginning comes at the start of the growing season when the first new sprouts emerge from the soil and we can sink our hands into fresh earth again.
January is when seed catalogues start showing up in our mailboxes. It’s when we begin to sink into making plans and dreaming up the gardens we will grow. It’s when we start to collect seeds, and begin to sow the long season plants like tomatillos and eggplants under lights. In my part of the world, January is the start of a process that will build in excitement and anticipation as it leads up to something big. But make no mistake, it is not the main event itself.
So far, the most important resolution I’ve made this year is to make a bigger deal of spring when it comes. By the time it rolls around I am often already so lost in it, or have already been writing and speaking about it for so long that I never think to just stop and take a moment to revel in it. That’s what these sorts of traditions are about, in part. They’re about taking pause and grabbing hold of the energy that comes at the start of a new beginning. It’s about respecting the harshness of winter and celebrating that we’ve made it through to see another spring.
That’s what I’m going to do this year. I’m gonna have my parade when the Vernal Equinox rolls around. I’m gonna stop and make a big stink out of it like I never have before. Until then I’m going to take my time emerging from the winter slumber and not pressure myself to feel change and excitement that I simply do not feel right now. Sorry New Year’s revellers. I’ll see you in the spring.