January has been a strange month from its start, punctuated by glorious blue skies on some days and dreary gray horizons on others. Instead of leaping into a state of promise it has struggled to decide exactly how to introduce the new year, the coming decade. It has been much like a rollercoaster ride both so frightening and exhilarating that it prompts me to close my eyes so that all imagery and colors turn black. Hints of better times to come are already popping out in the pinks and reds and yellows of the roses in my backyard that are still a bit wary of celebrating too soon lest the weather change for the worst. It’s a quiet and pensive time after all of the excitement of the holiday season with it’s bold colors festooning the world. We prefer calm at this time of year and yet the world does not always cooperate in its relentless drive forward into events that demand our attention even when we simply want to look away.
I feel like January, a mixture of so many colors and emotions that I cannot quickly define how I am feeling on any given day. I’m like a Jackson Pollock canvas filled with a strange combination of dribbles of this and that and the other. One day I’m celebrating my life and my blessings and the next I’m filled with a sense of anxiety and doom. I don’t quite know how to respond to the world around me, what to embrace and what to ignore. I am both energized and exhausted at the same time. I seek calm but so often find a general anxiety around me, causing me to wonder if I should be worried too. I prefer to wear red but find myself more often choosing blue to keep myself and those around me feeling more serene. I think of how wonderful it might be to just hibernate until the spring inside the soothing rooms of my home with its colors that always seem to soothe the savage beasts that stalk from outside my front door.
I am weary of all things political and the relentless grip that they have on the world and yet they seem to be everywhere, almost impossible to ignore. The news fails to bring us uplifting stories, focusing mostly instead on all things horrific, choosing sides instead of remaining steadfastly fair in shades of gray. I can no longer safely turn on my radio or television without being barraged by opinions and propaganda. Red and blue have become code for how one believes rather than simple choices of what makes one happy. At any given moment someone is ranting about something in an endless campaign for our support. I try to ignore and just go about my life but it becomes increasingly more difficult to do so and I worry that my sense of control over my own destiny is being stolen by others who only seek power for themselves. I don’t want to be manipulated anymore by folks donned in the colors of my country’s flag who don’t appear to understand me in any way.
I’m ready for the hopeful greening of springtime. I long to see the yellow butterflies in my backyard and the brilliant red blooms of the amaryllis bulbs. I want to open my windows to blue skies and walk through my neighborhood with the warmth of the sun kissing my skin. I dream of working in my yard with my hands buried in the rich brown and black of my soil. I look forward to escaping from the constant drone of ugliness and divisiveness that has overtaken the airwaves of communication.
For now I bury myself in my books that teach me new ideas and assure me that my mind is still clever. I keep things as quiet as possible and surround myself with people that I love and trust. The colors of my soul run peacefully together with happy thoughts of the past, present and future. I gaze at the brilliant colors of a painting from my mother and smile at the thought of her love that seems to protect me even though she is gone. I do my best to ignore the inconsequential while staying abreast of what truly matters. I calm myself with the lovely brown liquid of tea in my cup and memories of purple mountains that sing the glory of God.
February is just around the corner and with it comes a riot of red and pink signifying warmth, caring, love. I’ll scatter those colors throughout my home to remind myself of what really matters even as winter makes its last efforts to stunt the growth of nature for a bit longer. I’ll endure whatever bleakness comes in the sky for I know that brighter days of orange and yellow are sure to come on the horizon very soon. Nature has a way of reminding us to keep our hope and optimism alive, bringing colors that brighten our spirits and help us to continue on this journey known as life.
Today my colors may be dreary but tomorrow I can put a rosy hue on my cheeks and wear my purple blouse with a brightness that takes on the world. We go up and we go down. It is the way things work. Just as the seasons change so do we and sometimes we even find a rainbow after a storm.