What a quiet month, this January! I can blame a number of things: my deep abiding love of staying home when it’s cold and wet out, my tendency to stop talking and start philosophizing when the year turns itself over to the next, and a new sensation, one that has been sneaking up on me like the first overnight snow of winter: a rare animal called contentment.

January is traditionally the time of year when my friends derisively call me an old lady, and leave frustrated messages on my voicemail, have whole conversations with me via Facebook, and rarely see me out of oversize sweaters and fleece socks. The first month of the year also has me armed with fresh excuses for not seeing that fabulous band, not meeting thither, not waiting for a bus on the other side of town, thankyou. I fall into an easy rhythm during the dark weekdays: bike home from work, shower, put on pajamas, and turn off the outside world.

And while those who have enough patience to consider themselves in my social circles protest, Winter and I are perfectly happy with our arrangement, thankyou. I actually enjoy my self-imposed solitude. Because while the calendar whirls along, schedules and parties and adventures and gatherings and new budgets and programs and classes crank the world back into efficiency after the decadent rush of the Christmas season, I stay home and ponder.

The married ones among us know the pull to home is even greater when a real-life teddy bear awaits you, popcorn made, DVD in hand. The urge of the single woman to venture out into the winter night in a cute but flimsy cocktail dress is no longer in my repertoire.

I’ve always secretly been a homebody. Yes, I used to rouse the lazy rabble with cries of “Paint the town! Seize the day!” and chafe at the quiet nights of country living when everything closes at 7pm, but now I’m just as likely to be the one on the couch, ensconced in an idea, unwilling to put on my dancing shoes anymore.

Let me put it another way. If you told me that tonight the Queen was throwing a party in my honour, and had invited all my favorite movie stars and intellectuals, and a limousine was downstairs waiting to whisk me away to the gala affair, I’d sigh, readjust the pillows, and mumble, “Do I really have to be there?”

I also tend to hoard supplies during January: my freezer is nearing capacity with hearty soups and stews, while the cupboards are full of cans and containers of everything one might possibly need to make more soups and stews.

I don’t know if this post is an apology, gentle reader, or a promise, but it does have a point.

You see, while it looks, for all intents and purposes, to the world outside, and to my dear, frustrated friends and family, as if there’s nothing moving in this little corner of humanity, that’s not the case.

In fact, quite the opposite. I haven’t needed entertainment or much interaction because my thoughts have been tumbling about, creating new projects like kids throwing snowballs – the ideas have been coming fast and furious. If you wanted to be mean, you’d call me a frog in the frozen mud, but I’ll take even that, for down here in the warmth of solitude, things are happening. Things delicious and rough, raw and jumbled, scribbled onto pages of secret notebooks and squirreled away. It’s as if the seeds of rich experience over the past few years have finally germinated, and I’ve got a full-fledged…dare I say it…real writing project on my nervous hands. (I am loathe to
be more specific, at least until I have something to show for it). Well, to be technical, it’s still mostly in my imagination, a piece of psychic machinery that is working overtime, composting and rewriting, pondering and daydreaming these quiet January days away. I’ve been hoarding my time and emotional energy, and coaxing the surprising seeds of creativity that sprung up over Christmas.

So call me a hermit if you please, and forgive the lack of posts. I’m okay with hiding out for a little while longer, under the thick floes of winter, while the deep below moves swiftly.