A Blue Lake in January
January reminds me of mortality. A new year-of-days stretches out as it has in my life for almost seventy years. At the dawn of the year, as I put away the Christmas ornaments, an undefined hope seems to glow. I hang up a new calendar with its bright images on twelve pages, each appropriate to the seasons in this part of the world. So many days ahead—surely this year I will use them wisely, make better decisions, and never put off for tomorrow what can be done today. But these days, like others before them, with all of their hope of change, seem to tumble by like dry weeds. Even as the year begins, I’m confronted by the futility of trying to catch them and hang on. 

Days are like grass or weeds—but they are also like snow. Outdoors, I see a new covering of the white stuff under sunshine, accentuating the brilliant effect. Dried grasses and flower stalks bend over under the weight, leaving bumps that in certain light remind me of waves on a blue lake. Snow covers much of winter’s dullness here on the prairie in the same way as it makes picture postcards of abandoned, crumbling farmhouses. The cover of snow is as deceptive as that calendar of pages; one unseasonably warm day melts beauty to slush and then to mud. Days pass, whether or not we want them to, and we know that all our days will eventually be used up. My walk through a year of days in this book helps me savor them, knowing full well that they are numbered.  (from All Nature Sings - January)