Sarah's Blog

In Defense of January

In Defense of January

Sarah's Blog

When we had our first snowfall at the end of November last year, I felt the awe many of us experience upon seeing the earth suddenly turned out in a natty white cloak — and a wave of relief. Beneath that covering lay piles of dead leaves we hadn’t finished raking and bare spots where we meant to plant perennials or grass — chores, in other words, that we wouldn’t have to think about for another whole season.

Of course, those flakes also signaled the start of a long slog marked by endless shoveling, frozen pipes, and school closings that produce stir-crazy kids and frazzled parents. In our case, we also have a furnace that is vanquished by subzero temperatures and a station wagon with a propensity for cold- and corrosion-induced flat tires that I’ve been stranded in three times this season. Still, I find myself with more downtime in the three months following Christmas than at any other time of year. What else can you do during a bomb cyclone or when your toes are frozen in your ski boots but sit by the fire in a seasonally imposed time-out? Okay, if you have kids you’ll need a few more ideas:

January Collage


I have relished these little moments with our boys — moments we don’t get as many of during the rush of summer and the shoulder seasons. It’s only January — the road ahead is long (and probably treacherously icy), but for now, I’m trying to look at the bright side of these darkest days of the year.

Maine winters — thumbs up or down? Please share your thoughts!

Cover photo of West Kennebago Mountain in Rangeley submitted by Summitx154.


  1. I totally agree Sarah – as long as our winters are here in Maine, I cherish the chance to get projects done inside, endless soup and stew experiments, and little less craziness. Then there is the beauty – Today is a gorgeous day; the day after a perfect snowy day that is pristine, blue, sparkly, and not freezing cold out (it took about 5″ to shovel the light fluffy white stuff off my small walkway last night when I got home) . So enjoy!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Yes to endless soup! I should have mentioned that. In the summer, I am always annoyed that I don’t have five containers of soup in the freezer at all times. I have to think of a dinner idea every night! Writing this post made me realize that, despite all the inconveniences, I *need* Maine winters in my life. I’m glad to hear so many readers agree. Thanks so much for writing Judy — that day you describe was so beautiful.

  2. Janet

    I so enjoy the quilt free time I can spend inside doing projects and reading by the fire before, the outside jobs begin to call. I moved here from North Carolina (originally a New Englander) and I am enjoying first real winter in two years. So glad to be back.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      We’re glad to have you Janet! Congrats on the move and I’m so happy to hear winter hasn’t been too much of a shock to the system. I guess if you’ve been through it before, it’s like riding a bike. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. John

    Sarah- I was brought up in New Jersey, worked in New York, Transferred to Atlanta, Dallas Los Angeles and “wherever”. I am an expert on what it looks like in the city when it snows. Perhaps you awaken in the morning and like what you see. By noon it (whatever fell the night before) is brown and by the next morning it is black!
    Winter is supposed to be white, clean and refreshing. I just recently left the beginning of a wonderful, white winter (married a Southerner) and miss it already. Christmas day, 2017 was totally refreshing. May God bless Maine winters!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Ha, having lived in NYC for seven years I know JUST what you mean, John! I’m so glad you got to enjoy the beginning of a Maine winter and hope you can come back and visit soon. Thanks so much for writing.

  4. Elizabeth Munster

    Oh those cold artic winds blowing, dark at 4 p.m here the MHLake region, the Great Northwood of Maine. Nothing like snuggling in under the covers, sipping on a hot cuppa of lemon/ginger tea and reading a good book. Eventually, the temps get warmer, the sun stronger, the snow begins to melt and the air smells of the promise of spring. We get through the winter -somehow -despite thinking it will never end.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      You describe the love it/over it relationship we Mainers have with winter beautifully, Elizabeth! The idea of spring on the horizon definitely helps. Thank you so much for sharing these lovely thoughts.

  5. Emily

    Hi Sarah,
    A “seasonally imposed timeout” is what I long for. Winters here in Tennessee just don’t accomodate me with enough snow and peaceful pace. We love to travel to Maine when it is cold and tourists aren’t there so much…we get a little dose of the “timeout” that Maine offers.

    Best to you!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Aw, I’m sure I would feel the same way you do, Emily. Does it help to know that freezing rain is currently washing away all of our beautiful snow? 🙂 I hope you can make it up for a peaceful winter visit this year. Thanks so much for writing.

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