"January has bleakness, naked trees with cold rain dripping from them. It has drabness; violence; sharp, bitter winds' and the colored magnificence of ice, too. But sometimes it has moments of tenderness that are not surpassed by the compassion of any month.
One of these is that moment when night has just barely come but day has not altogether departed from snow-whitened hills and fields. When lights come on in the farmhouse then, one looks from a warm, lighted room into an outside world turned suddenly bright blue.
Against the glasslike clarity of that blue sky, bare trees loom up in blackness. A line of fenceposts rises up blackly from fluffy cascades of black weeds and brush. The last, late birds, hurrying from feedpans to wherever they go to sleep for the night, are small black pebbles tossed against the bright blue air.
This moment forgives the day all its shortcomings. This late, bright blue moment of early evening is reward for one's having ploughed laboriously through snow all day, to the barn, mailbox, henhouse, to neighbor's houses, to woodpile or cistern or wherever one went that day. The blue world lasts only about ten minutes, fifteen at most; even the busiest of farmers can spare time to accept this tenderness from January's cold hand."
From the chapter January in
by Rachel Peden
Alfred A. Knopf, New York
I read this book when I first moved to the country, and found it again at the library's used book sale this fall. I am once again reading, month by month, the observations of a 1950's farmwife and enjoying them even more the second time around.
I will try to share a bit from each chapter as this year progresses; Rachel's comments on country life, nature and beauty are still relevant today.