One entry in a month? That’ll never do, I’m afraid – had it been any month other than January. Living here, January is almost the perfect month to hide yourself away from the rest of the world, to burrow deep into the light of your home and shut out the endless gloaming. Yes, the days are getting longer by fractions, but most of the time you can hardly tell the difference through the slate-grey skies.

This month’s been odder than most. We’ve had two sessions of bizzarrely warm temperatures, and one serious blizzard that drove far too many people off the roads when they stepped out of doors. Here in the house we rode the warmth out with a smile and the blizzard with a shrug, knowing better than to fight it. It’s January, regular as clockwork.

February is technically the worst month in Illinois, bringing sharp wind and sleet ringing down in their last hurrah out of the north and west, the spirits of winter hanging on ’til the bitter end with hooked fingers of ivory-colored ice. It’s a dirty month, when even new snow is immediately coated in the grey of exhaust fumes and the brown of emerging mud.

I’m fond of February, though. In a way, it feels much more like a new year than January does. Yes, it’s messy and terrible, but there’s a promise at the end of it, a promise that good things and green winds are just around the corner. It’s easier to manage somehow, knowing that you’re winning the fight to outlast winter, knowing that just by holding on against the cold you’re going to come out on top.

We’ve set up an Aerogarden today, and its bright light – though artificial – is cheering in a way that’s difficult to decribe. Little seeds are growing not two feet from the dining table, and the sound of the pump is the sound of melting ice and unchained streams. There’s something growing in the month of February, inside and out; reminding us all that it’s time to start moving again.