In January, in the high desert, everything goes dormant. The Christmas decorations are finally put away, except for the few stragglers that always seem to get overlooked and end up hanging around until Easter. The children have all gone back to school and the house is quiet. (We shall not mention the fact that it suddenly becomes much easier to walk around the house during the night without wondering what clothes/shoes/duffle bags/laptops might be stumbled over.)
The house is quiet. Too quiet, after the holiday hijinks. The yard is quiet. Everything has gone dry and brown. The yard begs me to get outside and trim away all the skeletons of the last year's growth. And it is a good time of the year to do yardwork; it's certainly not too hot, and sunburn isn't the issue it will be in a few short months.
The unending brown of the yard will certainly depress me by the end of the month. It would be better to see everything covered in snow, but that seldom happens. When it does, it's a wonderful thing to see the spiny cactus pads take on new and unforseeable shapes.
But the snow never lasts for long, and before you know it, the brown, wasted garden has reappeared. Even the skies are frequently dreary and drizzly, not that we mind the sprinkles, but it would be so much nicer to have another snowstorm, or at least a decent day's rain.
Even heading out for the mountains provides little relief from the miles of brown desert landscape. I sometimes wonder what the pioneer wife thought about, assuming of course that she had the time to meditate on the scenery around her. The miles and miles of unrelieved dryness, the wind and the cold and the general dreariness of it all. At least I can retreat to the warm house, make a pot of pomegranate tea and play my Native America flute CDs while I knit.
And I can dream of summer. January means it's time to plan the summer's camping trip. And to call and book our reservations. Can you guess where we're going? Again? To that grand hole in the ground where we can leave behind the entire rest of the world.