There are two things that strike me about January.
The first is the cold. Lately, it’s been a literal striking, as I vainly tried to outlast its pummeling on a bench in Brooklyn.
And in Bethlehem, PA, I didn’t even try. I mean, look what it did to this woman.
Today, walking along the shoreline park in Chicago, it seemed like only the geese and the joggers were willing to join me in the stiff wind that sliced through my winter coat.
It made me empathetic for this sculptural captain, who I was dressed like, except my ski cap made me more of a common sailor.
The second thing that stands out to me about January was brought to mind when I found my bench looking out over an empty marina. Without all the boats, the rhythmic geometry of the structures can be seen. When the weather warms and the boats all come back, that simple overview will get lost in all the colors and movement and people. Life will get in the quay.
January is like those docks. It’s when we can see a line-up of the months to come. The calendar awaits all the hand-written activities (in our house, only in black pen, please). January is when we can clearly see the structure before, like at the marina, all the hubbub moves back in.
Hey, ships happen.
It’s fashionable to dislike resolutions. I’m not sure how the tide turned on those. I like to christen the launch of each new year with a personal slogan, something to keep in mind while the view of the docks is still clear. This year’s rose out of lessons learned from last year’s bench-sittings: Watch for the small things.
Each day, regardless of the larger activities that may dominate, there are small moments that are worth paying attention to and investing in – passing conversations, small gestures, chance interactions with strangers. I want to catch more of them. And when I can, include a bit of writing or drawing.
Take this drawing I left for Diana, the housekeeping cleaning my room in Brooklyn. She left a note afterward saying she would frame it.
Come to think of it, it touches on both of those January distinctives. Small gestures and the warmth they bring.