Earth Journal:

by M.L. Faunce

	January brings the snow
	Makes our feet and fingers glow.
                  -Mother Goose

January days are mostly black and white (except when they're soft and gray from the foggy thaw of a snowfall).

For January's sun generally rules. On an average day this time of year, the sun's low slant sends crisp, long shadows

From my porch, it's a symphony in black and white. Wrought iron furniture, deck chairs, railings and posts, trees stark and tall. The shadows are outlined as if with a mascara wand.

But the essential January is a beauty to behold without makeup. This month, nature is dressed down to its slick and shiny, bare-bones self. The tree bark glistens in this sun. Lines of limbs are taut. Every living element seems to have an angle. The landscape is stiff and brittle, the sun always finding your eyes. Shadow your face from the piercing light with your hand or your hat, and you're likely to focus on something you've not seen before. New visions are discovered, simple and small as the cup of your hand.

The exuberance of January is hard to beat. Just imagine a month that begins with a holiday created not just for new beginnings but also to thrust off the baggage of 12 months past. And if you feel needing of some space, just go out of doors in January. Watch your neighbors hustle from car to door without a glance. While you, dear friend, and only you, breathe deeply the fresh new air of a whole new year. Welcome to January.

Maybe that's why January made Capricorns. Loyal, wise and steadfast. Who else would linger in the cold noonday sun to catch the glint of the fleeting source of light and heat, this star, this luminous body - the sun. Or tarry outdoors in the rosy glow at day's end. Or marvel in days growing longer - really. Is it a scandal to admit to loving a day so cold that the hair in your nose stiffens? We've seen worse on the national news.

You've just got to love January. All 31 days. One sun and two full moons. Bundle up. There will be January snows (maybe). A little fog. Abundant sun (for sure). More of January's big chill. And maybe then, a January thaw. Well, we'll see.

| Issue 2 |

VolumeVII Number 2
January 14-20, 1999
New Bay Times
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