“Music is the space between the notes.” ~ Claude Debussy
The long inhalation of excitement and joy that begins in September and lasts through the Christmas holidays has been exhaled over the past week or so. The decorations are almost all put away—a few are “wintry” enough to last through February, along with a few that foretell Valentine’s Day—and my energy has settled deep within.
We attended a post-holiday-holiday-party and several guests mentioned their dislike for the months of January and February.
I nodded sympathetically but remained unengaged with the conversation, because I tend to love the months for their stillness and gifts of time for sifting through recent experiences, re-gathering my spirit, noticing little regressions and evolutions, and seeing clearly where I am on my journey, before heading into the new year with renewed energy. Each new year is like a musical composition my little spirit co-creates with Spirit. Twelve measures of music, or possibly 52, or 365; each a movement of its own. I’m grateful it begins–somewhat non-traditionally, I suppose–with a long rest, so I can hear the music shape itself and its themes for the coming year.
Many of the other guests at the party were teachers, however, and I could empathize with their post-holiday weariness and return to classroom routines.
January and February can be cold and the days are still brief. Their passage can be slow and uneventful and they’re rather anticlimactic, following the long season of holidays and traditional gatherings with friends and family. The crescendo diminishes to silence.
But what an invitation to be creative and start some new traditions!
Phillip and I tend to use these slower winter months to get out of the weekend routine and go on day trips. Last weekend, we traveled to the Wisconsin River area and combined an eagle-sighting adventure with a visit to a well-established and award-winning winery.
We have a few more adventures planned between now and spring break, and I’m looking forward to them. Sometimes we’re surprised by the fun a new place or experience offers and even if it’s less than stellar, we’re together and, usually, laughing.
This week, I was surprised with a visit from my nephew and his family, a true boost to the spirit. One of the gifts of working at home is being able to say yes (or, as we say in Wisconsin, “You betcha!”) to spontaneous visits.
I’ve always thought it would be fun to schedule gatherings with close women friends during these months, to share spiritual stories, practices, books, and films, and to reinforce each other’s spirits and affirm our journeys. We become so busy when the days grow longer. It might be helpful to get together once or twice a month in January and February to transfuse each other’s spirits with renewed energy and share a very-mini-retreat, helping each other get our spirits in tune for the months ahead.
Traveling through the year’s music, its rhythms and beats, its familiar melodies and new improvisations, invites greater intentionality and sensitivity from me than I was prepared or wise enough to offer when I was younger. Letting Spirit be the conductor is easier, however, and I welcome her gift of an initial multi-measure rest, because it allows me to hear her deeper song, the one she sings in my heart and bids me to dance when the music of the year continues.
(Murphy says, “I crawl under my blanket, watch Downton Abbey, and take a two-month retreat.”)
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