dark, then light

The last sixty days of the calendar year inspire deep burrowing under blankets and a retreat from the world. The end of soccer season is both a colossal let down and a quiet relief. I have been emptying my heart and soul into the work of coaching and team building, squeezing out every last drop of thought, time, energy and myself for the girls and the task at hand. Then to end of season meetings and evaluations and banquet and tying up loose ends. When all this momentum and energy rolls to a halt, the pull to go within and find quiet spaces takes over. I follow these urges like an over-tired, weepy child being led by the parent’s hand. When the season ends I come home after the day’s work and have little left for much more than a warm mug, soft blankets, quiet. I give in to couch-lock, some nights making my way to my bed before 7pm, feeding my body with all the sleep it didn’t get between August and November. I eat cheese and bread and spicy soups. I get pale and soft. I am not beckoned by my art brain nor the outdoors. I am in. Deep. Inside the house, inside the blankets, inside myself.

It is a state of being that is fully foreign to my other 300 days of the year. And it’s kind of delicious.

Then, in January, something … happens.

I climb out of the chrysalis I’ve spun into a new year. Snow and freezing cold and lengthening days and the beginning of the next cycle. A whole new 365 days lie ahead, full of hope and opening and possibility. Goals to set, mountains to explore, trails to ski, birds to feed, journals to fill, eggs to collect, sunrises to notice. Tears to cry, people to hug, dogs to pet, cool clear water to drink, mountain powder to glide through, friends to love, words to write. It’s all stretched out ahead. Waiting. Beckoning. And as before when I allow myself to be led weeping, exhausted, emptied out into the cozy dark, I now let this first month of the year lead me up into the light, out of the house, into the woods, back into the world.

Oh, January, how I love you.