A slow-starting year

Western sky at dusk over L’Orignal, Ontario and the Ottawa River on January 1, 2019, as seen from Grenville, Quebec. Photo: James Morgan

So far, 2019 feels like a car that starts rough in the cold, or a movie where nothing exciting happens until the last 30 minutes.

The first week of the year can best be described as quiet, and a period of anticipation until something more exciting happens.

Locally, the biggest event of the past few days was an unfortunate house fire, but fortunately those inside safely escaped. Municipal government is on a break until this week ahead, and the biggest story so far was the arrival of the first baby of 2019 at Hawkesbury General Hospital on January 2. Even the first baby of the year took her time.

Decent winter weather has been slow in arriving, too. For every two inches of snow, there seems to always be freezing rain, then followed by a day of above-freezing temperatures. When it does get cold again, whatever snow left on the ground turns into an icy crust which is no good for cross-country skiers and snowshoe hikers like me.

My parents in southwestern Ontario recently took my niece and nephew sliding on a local hill that only had snow on one side.  Mom ended up doing a lot of laundry once they got home.

It never feels like the new year starts coming into its own and really claiming its character until about two or three months after it officially begins. Right now, we’re still running on the leftovers of 2018. Nothing is happening in the legislatures in Ottawa, Quebec City, or Toronto. The U.S. government is even on partial shutdown, due to a situation that began last year. The late winter ritual of annual meetings for community clubs and churches is still a few weeks away.

I always feel as though I’m semi-suspended in a slow-fall through the air this time of year. We suddenly drive off the cliff of festivities and by the end of the day, January 1, it’s all over. One of these days, there will be a hopefully gentle landing.

For some, the festivities aren’t over. I was reminded of that while listening to a local radio station recently and they ran a Christmas greeting message for listeners in Orthodox churches where the Julian calendar is still used.  Maybe in about a week, everyone will finally be in the same starting position and this year will be on the go.

The slowness of January is a good time to slowly enjoy what is around is. Take in scenery for what it is in the moment and prepare for when things really get busy.

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