January: The Jumper Cable Month

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

Oo-ga-chak-kah, Oo-ga-chak-kah.

January and jumper cables go hand-in-hand. Not just because of the obvious cold weather and failing vehicle battery letting us down on frigid mornings. It’s a month when the human spirit can use a jolt to get going.

The highs of the holidays have all been filed away in memory as well as the attic or basement, and the new year’s resolutions are all now passé.

Other than thumbing through some seed catalogs to dream and wish and plan for spring gardening, all there is to do is hibernate.

You can’t tell it, but the days are getting longer. Just since the turn of the year we’ve added more than a half hour of sunlight to our day. But it is still difficult to get going in the morning. Even after a slug of caffeine, we don’t fire on all cylinders.

It seems it’s not until the morning sun overcomes the nighttime grasp that our biological clock finally agrees, “OK, it’s time to get the day started.”

And while Southern Indiana has been blessed with some occasional warmer winter weather, with sustained temperatures below freezing and snow cover and TV meteorological warnings of more to come, Old Man Winter now has us firmly in his grasp. For the times I must go outdoors, the snow crunches, ice crackles and my breath fogs, all adding to the theatre of chill. And the bright winter sun which causes my eyes to squint tighter than any July afternoon doesn’t seem to warm.

Up in the wilderness, where the drab dead-leaf decay of nature is cosmetically covered in white, I can feel winter invigorated. Maybe that’s because there are more hills to climb there than are available in the flatlands of Vernon Township. Maybe it’s being able to track deer and see the results of turkeys scratching for food.

There is not a more quiet place in the winter. No cars & trucks— no noise but the occasional wind blowing through the trees. You can just stand anywhere on the property and listen to the frigid wintertime silence.

Back at the house, the cold temperatures cause me to hunker down more in my recliner and throw on a blanket to keep warm. The furnace thermostat works fine, but the white winter overcoat and whistling wind fools me into believing that it is colder than it really is.

So I vegetate and hibernate. Sometimes even in the middle of the day.

Excuse me while I enjoy a January mid-day snooze. Bring the jumper cables by in about an hour.