January, linger.

comments: 127

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Back in the swing, but it's a slow swing. I have been thinking about January a lot. Or, rather, thinking about whether it is actually possible to hibernate in winter, the way animals do. My animals become cold-honey slow in the winter. I am with them all day, every day. It's impossible not to know their routines, their moods, their changes, their needs. If I don't intuit something they need, they tell me. When Eileen was here pet-sitting last fall, one day she texted me something like, "It's weird, but they actually do tell you what they want, don't they?" And yes, they absolutely do. If you do not live with animals, you might think it would be difficult to understand them. But if you do live with animals, I bet you know exactly what they are trying to tell you, pretty much every minute. Really, it's very easy. You guess once and get it right, and suddenly whatever it was you just did in response to whatever it was she just did is a vocabulary word, forever, for both of you.

They change with the seasons. When I listen to the pets in the wintertime, I hear them sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. They look for the warmest spot and then they curl themselves around it and they sleep. This is not what they do in summer. In summer, life is all about outside: Someone's coming in, someone's going out, someone's walking by, someone's in the yard, someone's left the yard, someone's going to get the hose, someone might drop some food on the ground, someone's coming in again, someone's going out. Busy hours. There is so much more to be alert for. But in the winter, especially after Christmas, it is just quieter. All of the windows and doors are closed. We don't hear outside noises. It's often raining. It's quieter activity-wise because what could there possibly be to do, after all that was just done? December feels almost manic, socially speaking. January feels like a deep breath — a sigh — in the conversation. It's closer, and darker, and that always feels quieter. It's resting, stay-still, no-rush time. Maybe the only sanctioned time for it in the whole year. We are animals too, after all. All I want to do is stay bundled and curled. Make soups that take four or five hours. Make bread that takes eighteen. Watch movies about ice skaters. Linger over lazy lunches. Read snowy Russian novels. Oil wooden spoons and cutting boards. Take long eucalyptus-infused baths. Knit stuff. Refill the teapot. Blow off my chores. Read illustrated cookbooks. Scratch furry little corgis behind their ears. Coast on momentum, I guess. Be long and linger, January. Don't rush off. I need the time. I need the time.

127 comments

i say you take the days of february too... i will if you do. i might make soup...you always inspire me. xoxo much love xoxo...oliver is snuggly also :)

We expecting a snowstorm here this weekend and I have groceries, magazines, fabric, embroidery, quilts. Let it snow! January is the best month of the year.

Your words echo my thoughts, just put more eloquently than I could ever hope to write. Going to go cuddle my unsociable kitty now.

Aaaaahh, to hibernate... how lovely you make it sound.

January is my hurdle. The Holiday rush has passed but the birthdays just begin in our family. It's the beginning of calm and the light at the end of winter.

Your January makes me want to cry. It sounds far, far better than mine. I'm going to take some cues from yours :)

Nice warm soup (black bean?) and homemade bread is a necessary feast for wintertime. Do you have a recipe? Love that paisley tablecloth and dishes. Such a serene and quiet shot.

You've just described Duke and me. It's as if I can look into his eyes and read his mind. He's cuddled around a pillow on the sofa as I write this.

Oh my goodness...you just described my week! Love January for it's unique quality and pace!x

susaninfrance says: January 12, 2012 at 03:18 PM

love the crust on your bread. i make the same (with my little variations) and i love it when i get that kind of crust, so yummy and crackly...

What a happy and peaceful tablescape. Love.
Reading your impressions of January made me think: isn't this how the Advent and Christmas season should be also? You are right - instead it feels almost maniacally busy/social. This quiet, thoughtful, restful time is when it's possible to ponder, to pray, to truly experience. I wish Christmas wasn't quite so busy, because I love it so. But it's so much easier to feel to feel the Holy when the days are has you described above.

Chris Aiton says: January 12, 2012 at 03:28 PM

Where I live in Florida, it isn't super cold (lol) but the whole sky/weather/air concept is definitely different than that of summer - today I made 13 bean soup and worked on a lap/foot quilt for my DH. What Russian novels are you reading? Have you read the trilogy starting with The Jewel of St Petersburg and then on through The Russian Concubine and The Girl from Junchow? The author, Kate Furnivall also wrote The Red Scarf (also set in Russia).

I don't think I have ever verbalized why I love January so much, and now I don't need to, and for that I thank you.

So lovely! What is the first soup you show? Is that a clam or a mussel in it?

This is EXACTLY why I LOVE winter and want to savor EVERY moment of it;)

I love reading your blog posts. You paint such a clear & precise, and 'pretty' picture with your words. You are gifted in many areas, and writing may well be at the top.

Enjoy your January, as I can see you are!

My husband always thinks I'm crazy when I respond to our pup - as if she's got me wrapped around her little paw - but I swear, too, that I know exactly how she communicates and tells me what she wants/needs!

(Also, all of your photos of your dinners always look so fancy!)

You really know how to set an inviting table.....My Bella kitty let's me know what she wants. Every evening we get on the the couch, I pet her till she dozes off, then I crochet. When she is almost asleep, she takes her back leg, and knicks my hand way. Saying, that's enough mom, now let me sleep...they are so precious.

Alicia, I've been so inspired by your blog for the last year or so, in fact it was pretty much you, pickles, purlbee and soulemama that really gave me the drive to start my own. Anyway, I just wanted to say that with every post of yours I read I feel like I've been given the superpower of teleportation (which would be my superpower of choice actually) and landed right in your world. Usually makes me feel very snuggly and warm, at times heartbroken and in awe of your strength and poise, but always so incredibly inspired.

Thank you.

Yes! Agreed! Whole heartedly!

I love January too. It always feels like a fresh start. That soup looks very delicious. Would you be willing to share the recipe?

Hi all :-)! The recipe for the soup is in yesterday's post, and the bread recipe is a few posts back.

There is a raging snow storm outside right now and the pussycat Jack is curled up in a chair. In the middle of the night though he will sneak in under the covers with us. Nothing like feeling fur on naked skin no matter how hard the wind howls.

Eighteen hour bread! Your meal looks so good. I made turkey soup today - it came out well.

I couldn't agree more!
I would add, tending to a woodstove as the things I would love to "have" to do in January.

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.