January days are white days in my thought. Pristine squares of uncluttered time in which I sit, like a little girl in an empty attic, with a pale sunlight filtering in on my face. The cluttered color of December is gone, my mental garret swept clear so that the new morning of another year suffuses every surface of my life. As a child I dreaded the hush of this first new month, I keened for the rush and laughter of Christmas. Now I see the grace of white, winter days. I need a space of recollection; I need to think, to remold the form of my dreams, reset the rhythm of my living.
One of my yearly rituals in this pristine month is to begin a new day book. Every year I order the National Gallery of Art’s engagement calendar to welcome the advent of a fresh set of days. There is something in the sleek blank spaces marking the days and weeks ahead of me that echoes the waiting emptiness of this new month. January won’t last forever, it is a beginning, the blankness will be filled, the empty spaces crammed up with living again. But it is good to look at the white spaces, symbolic of my yet-unspent time and dream well about how they may be filled. In keeping with that, I have adopted (from a beloved friend) the practice of making my calendar a record of beauty as well as time. I fill the blank spaces with my plans, but I leave just enough room so that when the day closes, I can jot down two or three glimpses of grace or laughter that found me in the midst of my day.
I like these white days.