I get conflicted when asked about my favorite things. Depending on my work, I have favorite tools or books. Months also shift about. It’s not that I flip-flop; it’s more like I carefully consider.

I love December for the holidays. When I was young and on the road, my favorite place to be in December was Boston. The Boston Common and Downtown stores had lights and lovely displays. The lights were a counterpoint for other not-so-pleasant things that were going on. So, a walk through the Common to Downtown was a pleasant junket. The glances at the shop windows were peaks at what the better-off might expect to find at Christmas.

But not long after New Year’s, I cross a sort of Rubicon into a month with little to light it up. The seed catalogs begin to arrive in November and December, but I avoid even glancing at them until far into January when I desperately need the break from winter. I have also created a totally artificial schedule for January in the shop, where I design and prototype new things. It’s making good out of what would otherwise be terrible, and I can’t put a better gloss on it than that.

Sometime around the middle of February, I turn a seasonal corner with the sapping of the maple trees for syrup and planting the first seedlings for the garden. Late nights in February are filled with musing as I watch the sap boil down into syrup. In the mornings, I carefully record how many more moments of light come with passing days. It’s a kind of make-do with what you have month. Please note that I avoid talking about what can sometimes be the endless job of snow clearing. But by the end of February, I had turned the corner on the season and now can look forward to spring. Spring crowns the year for me.

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