The End of January


01.28.14  It’s almost done, and by the time I return home again from yet another trip, it will already be February.  Winter is not over, of course, and today is the calm before the next big storm, but I’m nostalgic for January.  It was supposed to be the pause month–a quiet time after the holidays–where I’d read all my books by the fire, cook new soup and stew recipes, maybe write a novel or paint a picture, on a sunny day, sitting in the window seat upstairs.  I was going to watch movies, have friends for dinner, clear out clutter.  It’s a lot to ask for in one month, I suppose, but it was far from meeting my expectations this year.  I’ve been distracted from January’s stillness by lots of necessary travel.

I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost something.  Soon, I’ll be impatient for warm, sunny days, which are still months into the future.  I’ll want to get over to the coast and see the Pacific Ocean, or walk a sandy beach in Hawaii, or just spend a week in the bright sun of the high desert in Santa Fe.  I know my hopes for January won’t transfer into the next month, or the month after that.  It’s just a lost month.  I’m reminded of that year I lost with cancer, and how I went away in the summer and came home in the fall, and cried to find the grandchildren’s beach toys still down at the beach, kayaks at water’s edge, and my bathing suit still hanging on the hook next to the shower.  I wept at those reminders of the time I’d lost.  How easy it is to forget what the Buddha taught:

“In the end, only three things matter:  how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

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