Darkness. Ice. Cold.

I hate January.

January is stark. The night time seems more foreboding; the leafless trees stand alone and remind you how lifeless everything feels. The snow doesn't want to melt. The cold air fills your nose and lungs and attacks your fingers and toes.

I moved to Utah and got away from some of the bad winter only to encounter a different January feature: air pollution, trapped by the mountains and cold air above. The sky just looks gray even on sunny days.

January is foggy windows, ice scrapers and rock salt. It's short days and long nights. It's boots and winter hats. The snow that was so welcome in December is just a pain in January

But January is also a basketball month. It's driving to play hoops, leaving the gym, and returning to your car in an illuminated parking lot, over the snow, onto a cold seat.

January is "99 Luftballoons" and Tom Petty's "Don't Do Me Like That." It's "Good Morning Vietnam" and load of other good movies that opened in one or two cities in late December in time for Oscar consideration, then were released nationwide after the new year. It's NFL playoffs on the weekends.

January is for staying inside to keep warm, retreating from the darkness that seems to invade your place of shelter through the cold windows. I know some people don't mind the cold and welcome January for skiing. I just want to get from one warm place to the next, simply enduring the outdoors as the space in between the comfort zones.

I can't help wish for summer in January. Forget spring, give me summer. Five months away.

Damn, I'm cynical about this month, but I can trace at least a few major funks in my life to have occurred during the winter. And January is the winter month. December is celebratory. February is a little hopeful. January is neither.

Yeah, this is January. It sucks.


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