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I wish sometimes January didn’t just feel like a month to get through. I know it’s normal after the high festivities of December, and I honestly welcome the fresh start (such as it is) and the clean house, but it’s just…gloomy. The weather is cold, grey and wet, the kids are stuck in the house too much, and I’m left searching for inspiration.

Then I remind myself this is normal. This is the cycle of the year, the downtime when all of nature is hibernating, at rest, saving up for the coming spring, and it cannot be forced before its time.

Icelandic poppies are one of my favorite flowers. When I was younger, still living in California, I would plant them in my yard every January. They are hearty, and can handle what we Californians call ‘winter’- usually blooming with the warming February sunlight. One year, as the furry, thick buds pushed up, and their protective casings cracked open, I was over-eager, and I tried to ‘help’ the flowers by peeling back the pistachio-shaped protective pod from the furled petals, thinking this would encourage and allow the petals open sooner, freed from their constraints. I was wrong.

What happened was, I damaged the petals. My eagerness for their beauty ended up marring what they could have been. The flowers survived my ‘helping’, but they bore bruises and scars on their petals as the season progressed. It was a powerful lesson, and a sad season for me- each time I looked at my beautiful flowers— because yes, they were still beautiful— but they bore the marks my distrust of the process.

That’s what January is. Trusting the process, allowing the seasons to pass over your fields, and the work that can only be done in the dark to progress, without any ‘help’.

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