Winter’s Slow Progress

Sometime around the middle of December, the activity in the shop will drop off. In contrast to just a few weeks earlier when the shop teemed with work, it now has a sort of calm peace about it.
I’ll go through and do a thorough cleanout to get rid of all the dust, chips, and shavings, but the scent of varnish, tung oil, and wood will remain.

I am too busy until about the sixth of January to think about this lull. But after that, as the winter sinks in and wears on, I crave the relief the shop routine brings. Just to be clear, January and most of February wear on me. I can think of not a single particle of value in those months that comes without hard toil -hard toil with a snow shovel and snow blower at that.

Why mention this now while I am busy? Because if there is to be a single sterling moment during that time, it comes from thinking now of projects that need development during that lull. Now I’m looking at things I see that I’ve never done but would like to try. I now think of portraits I’d love to be challenged by. And now, I am thinking of trying new materials and techniques.

The lights will be on in February late at night as I sit in the shop fiddling with something new. The neighbors might wonder what the hell is going on. I’ll be making slow progress in my craft and keeping the worst of winter at bay.

So Long January!

Today I bid a fond adieu to my least favorite month. With its short dark days, it constantly batters at me. The shop is bitter cold, and even the birds seem furtive while chattering at the feeders.
OK, I am also disappointed with February that promptly follows. At least in February, I plan the garden and prepare to sow seeds indoors. Just after Valentine’s day, I begin tapping our few maples for sap. Then it’s boil, boil, and boil for the sweet stuff. At last, there is enough snow to put on the snowshoes and head into the adjacent woods. The days start visibly lasting longer. Towards the latter part of the month, the effort to heat the workshop/ greenhouse slacks off enough that working there becomes a pleasure.
Again, I don’t love February, but I have a deal with it. It’s a hard cold month, but it eventually yields to more promising months.
I know that my winter angst is mostly subjective and individual. But show me a person, in this latitude, who effuses joy for January, and I’ll show you one hell of a sick individual!
With apologies; to January lovers where ever you are – good luck.

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