January 2023 Sketchbook & Journal
Thank you for starting off 2023 with me! Here’s my sketchbook pages and notes from the first month of the year.
On Hogmanay, I commented to Ross that if Trix knew all she was expected to achieve this coming year, she might be a little overwhelmed. Crawling, teeth, talking, walking, waving, clapping, using a spoon. To balance out how much she had to do, I planned to achieve absolutely nothing.
Well, by midday on January 1st, she had popped out her first tooth. A tiny, sharp grain of rice on a shiny, pink gum. She had smashed her to-do list in the first 12 hours of the year. By the 3rd of January, there was another tooth. She was so unphased by all the developing and changing she had to do. It put me to shame. So, I think I might try and progress a little bit this year, after all. There are some projects I would like to move forward. One thing I’ve been thinking about for a few years is that I would like to self-publish a little book. A picture book, of course. I wrote a wee story while at a very boring conference. I was pregnant with Piglet at the time, so it must have been four years ago! It has been in the back of my head since then. Maybe if I write the intention down here then I will hold myself accountable to actually make some progress. If anyone has any experience of sourcing book printing please get in touch!
We walked into the woodland on the morning of the 1st. The woodland floor was covered in the surprisingly robust knobs of emerging snowdrops. There’s something really awe-inspiring about the resilience to keep coming back, to push back through, to bring the green and the hope up through the hard earth. All that effort culminating in the most delicate flower. A little white bell of light and determination. I don’t think I’m alone in finding snowdrops comforting. I’ve been working on a snowdrops drawing the past couple of months with the hope of it being finished in time for Peak Snowdrop season in mid February. Time is running out! There’s no stopping those little guys once they get going.
I can see why our ancestors chose this moment in the calendar to mark the new year. The air changes. There’s a freshness and forward motion, almost imperceptible, that December doesn’t have. The beginning of January marks the switch to the steady move toward spring. Little steps, tiny changes, subtle hints, pushing forward. And then, all of a sudden, it will escalate and accelerate in March. March will get the praise for returning the green to us, but really, January deserves the accolade.
We did the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this morning. I had planned a Pastries & Birdwatching breakfast and I was very excited. But I forgot to take the pastries out of the freezer last night. I was absolutely devastated. I haven’t had enough sleep this week to cope with the disappointment of no breakfast pastries. Ross took one look at my crumpled face, fetched his keys, and went to the shop. Pastries & Birdwatching was saved. He is a Very Good Husband.
(We spotted: chaffinches, great tits, coal tits, blue tits, carrion crows, woodpigeons, long tailed tit, robin, bullfinches, house sparrows, dunnock. Also, an unidentified gull flew over.)
I’m writing this journal entry with a ten-month-old fast asleep on my chest. It is Sunday afternoon, 4.30pm. I’m sitting in a huge wicker arm chair that we bought from a neighbour back in Teapot Street days. It sits beside my bed. The room is gradually getting darker as the daylight fades. I can see trees silhouetted against a grey sky outside. From their swaying, I can see that the wind is picking up. Ross & Piglet are out playing football (they got given goal posts for Christmas). I’m savouring the house being quiet, the rhythmic rise & fall of Trix’s breathing, nobody asking anything of me except to sit still.
Trix crawled properly for the first time this morning. By the time spring arrives in force she won’t be much of a baby anymore. I’m usually itching for spring to arrive, but this year I’m ok sitting still and holding my baby and waiting a while longer.
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