Today. A clear head and a cardigan inside out. A toffee-coloured cardigan as cosy as a hug, but inside out all the same. And a clear head, oh a blessed clear head.
Last night I slept from eight o’clock until Ste kissed me awake at seven with a cup of tea, and my eyes sprung open astonished by morning. Now that sleep comes easily I cannot get enough of it, and I wake up without the aching bones I am so familiar with, certain that I shall miss this beautiful bedroom so very, very much, now that we have to leave it behind, just another notch on our domestic journey towards contentment.
In the brick outhouse in the garden, a pregnant cat is coming and going: a flash of marmalade fur dashing past our legs, her pregnant belly heaving, whenever we peek inside to try to catch her resting. The grass is sodden and the rich green ivy that used to drape the kitchen window, now brown and sorry. The wettest January I can remember.
Now I am lighting as many candles as I can find, tired of replacing the bulbs in our many lamps as they seem to pop daily, reminding us all that things aren’t what they used to be. That everything, even lamp-light is more transient than it was: another set of somethings to be disposing of and endlessly replacing. So now the coffee table is ablaze. A twinkling centre-piece, laden with a cafetiere, and all the books I have not yet read. And I am here, on the sofa, in my favorite place in the land, the internet. Able to see the screen without the words dancing before my eyes and smiling to myself as I set off on path dotted with pretty things, lovely ideas and rich inspiration. Remembering all over again who I am, and what I am for.
January is I think, sent to try us. A survival test designed to separate those who are willing to hibernate without resentment from those who barely tolerate the restrictions the month imposes. This year I have used January for repair. For restoration and repose. A chance to mend what had been broken during three years of the kind of grief that is as physical as it is emotional, wreaking havoc in my bones and reminding me everyday of what was lost.
Twenty-five days in to the New Year and I am feeling so much better, though the body blow that is our landlords decision to sell the lovely house we thought we could enjoy for years to come, is needling at my heart and spurring me into action, because sometimes action is necessary isn’t it? Sometimes we have to gird our loins, gather all the strength we can muster and get to work, hoping that the universe will acknowledge one’s efforts and reward them with a sprinkle of good fortune. There are lists to be made and furniture to sell, for as sure as eggs are eggs, the next house will not have the luxury of space like this one has, as every family sized house in the district is divided up for students and sold at silly prices, with only a few good houses left to fight for. There are references to be gathered, and books to get in order, a child distraught by our lack of “home” to be reassured and my own nerves to be constantly soothed by hope and possibility.
For now though there is a book to devour, and homemade pesto hummus, I shall spread on warm toast to be enjoyed. Moving house is probably a long time off and frenzy isn’t necessary. I can enjoy what is left of January in a cuddle of snuggly blankets, and nighttime sipping of what is left of the Christmas Pudding Gin. I can continue to believe that despite what seems to be a litany of bad fortune, I am in fact blessed. I can root in my comfort drawer for restoration, rub an earthy, soothing blend of oils into my wrist and read Sarah Ban Breathnach all over again. For it is she, always she, who reminds me to believe I can do whatever is necessary to keep moving life forward.
This month then has been a buffer between the old year and the new one. An indulgence that cannot be granted every year, but once in a lifetime or so, might just be necessary.