I have been thinking of this during January - a month that people often seem to find disagreeable. People find it a boring month, where things are 'shut down' and 'nothing happens' - it is a limbo between the hyperactivity that now surrounds Christmas and Easter. Of course, Nature itself is far from shut down. On the contrary, it is laying the foundations for another year's survival, as we can see if we look closely at the trees, the bushes and shrubs and observe the behaviour of the birds
But perhaps January can provide some opportunity for tranquility, to find some silence in a world where true 'silence' is pretty hard to come by.
Thinking about this I half recalled what the poet Wordsworth said about the association between tranquility and creativity. I looked it up and here it is:
"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually reproduced, and does itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood successful composition generally begins."
I made the error of Googling 'recollecting in tranquility' and was bombarded by loads of American websites providing ready-made essays on Wordsworth and a couple of detective novels I could order from Walmart.
What I am getting around to is a "let's hear it for January" call - for the reason why many people seem to dislike the month so much is also a reason for liking it - because it provides opportunity for moments of tranquility, especially when the weather is really cold and everything seems to be stopped in its tracks. This January the weather has returned to conditions that seem like 'real Winter'. The temperatures have dipped well below freezing overnight and there have been solid air and ground frosts. But also we have had many days of bright sunshine, with the sun working to clear the cold, foggy humidity of the early morning, so that by mid-morning the sky is blue, the sun ablaze and the air holds both warmth and sharpness. A characteristic of this weather has been how dramatic the light has been. There has been very little wind. And, as when there is a heavy snowfall, the quality of sound has become more more evident: in the early morning, with the sharp cold, fog and mist it is as if the world has been muffled, but by midday, in the crystalline air, sounds travel for miles.
So this Blog Post is a bit of a 'January celebration', and I am simply posting images that have a tranquility that can stop us in our tracks:
And at 'Nichoir' the new dictator is just checking her fiefdom .....