New England weather coheres to only one guide: inconsistency. Mind you, we used to consistently depend upon pretty much only one rule about January around here, and that was at some point we’d get a day, maybe two, of January Thaw. January Thaw was an almost sacred event. We’d go from temperatures in the single digits or worse and find ourselves tossed into a near-tropical weather pattern. OK, I do exaggerate. But the temps would generally soar into the 50’s or even the 60’s. The temptation was to shed layers of clothing, take off the LL Bean boots, and sunbathe. Then, of course, for repentance, we’d plunge back into the freezer.

Not so anymore. The temperatures in December have fluctuated between the teens and the forties much of the month. As a result, I fear that my maples suspect that tapping season is here early and expect me to sneak up on them with drill, hammer, taps, and tubing.

Typically, it’s a month in which I read seed catalogs, fill my shop time with new designs and prototypes, and look longingly out the window at my dreary garden. Oh, yes, I start a countdown to when I start the tomatoes, lettuce, and kale seedlings inside. I fill my time with sundry things designed to take my mind off the realities of winter. Yes, it’s bad enough that I begin to yearn for February. Now you know how desperately I dislike January.
At least in February, I can observe the days lengthening, tap the trees, and boil maple syrup. Admittedly, it sounds rather desperate, too. But for all that I hear from New England expatriates who ask after how deep the snow was around the maples when I tapped, how much syrup I got, and when the buds finally broke open in.

Yes, it’s true. There are days that I’d grab a reticule string bag, stuff it full of summer clothes, and head of for the Caribean. But being my friends already left for nicer weather, who’d I email for what day the sugaring started in the sugarbush. How’d I learn when the first sugar snap peas went into the garden? And on what date in April did the last snow in the mall parking lot disappear?

Yes, I know that my colleagues in Canada are sneering at these complaints. But come on, admit it. You hate January too!

Maybe this is the year I’ll do some of those early in the water boat shows in Florida. Then, I’ll return in time to tap the maples and just snowbird January away. Reading the catalogs can wait.

8 Replies to “January”

  1. Here in Southern Ontario, February is usually the coldest and most snowy month, so you could get away with two months down in Florida, hehe.

  2. I would take one week in Hawaii! Just one week. We are hitting record lows in our parts, and being cooped up inside is kind of getting to us all; yet, travel remains risky as virus numbers soar. What to do but write and read blogposts on WP?1?

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