We Begin

How is your January?

January is the first month in the Gregorian calendar and has 31 days. The name January comes from Janus or Ianus, the Roman god of passage and new beginningsIānus is Latin and means arched gateway. It is related to the word Janitor, which initially meant “Keeper of the Gate.” I would argue that janitor still does mean that–keeper of the gate. I invite you to think that through. Where would public spaces, commercial and office buildings, entertainment centers, etc. be without someone(s) keeping them up, thus accessible, thus enterable and exitable? And, more often than not, that same janitor(s) can fix things, can rebuild things, can, by experience or reasoning, do.

I am born in January, would that it defined my mechanical and reasoning self-sufficiency. It does not. Could it? Could I do? Do you reflect the meaning of the name of your birth month? Could you? Would you?

Funny, my fingers touch the keys, and I do not know where they will travel. Today the trip began with January.

This morning I walked around the mighty river that flows through our city, well not the entire river, as I would still be walking to the Atlantic and then back up to somewhere in mid-northerly New Hampshire. I walked from my house to the river, across on Mammoth Street bridge, along the river’s north bank, and back across to the south bank on the 40-year old bailey (viz–temporary) bridge. It being a metal bridge, I mini-stepped along the walkway, touching the pedestrian-protective grating all the time so as to grab should my feet slide out from under me. I talked to myself the entire length.

These two views are from the Mammoth Street Bridge. I did not stop to photograph on the bailey bridge, which if you squint you might be able to see way back in center back of the bottom photo

What a gift it is to live walking distance from waterways. We have two. Two natural and oh, 5 or 7 dug canals that grabbed the power of this river and fed mills, mills, mills. About half of which remain standing, and most of these serving now as residential, museum, retail, and business spaces.

What a gift it is that trees persist along the river’s banks and birds ply its waters.

I think it’s a hackberry? Behind it you can see the river flowing
A Hooded Merganser couple

What a gift it is that one can stand at the lip of the bank and sense the river’s conversation as it passes by. And that no one has yet cleared away a recently fallen old birch, so that it can be extra sustenance for the myriad medium, small, and microscopic entities whose lifecycles are disrupted by the unpredictable, unseasonable, disruptive weather patterns that are life these days.

Fallen, ancient birch on the northside esplanade. The birch’s feet were toed into the tilting riverbank.

And the gifts of being able to walk along the river, among what reside beside it, and to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, and walk home patting passing dogs, greeting occasional neighbors and numerous non-neighbors, and enter my heated house, and haul out my laptop, and type this letter to you. And the gift of you reading it. I am thankful, and I thank you.

Author: Kate Hemenway

I like to explore, to observe. I like to be within what is around. There is always something to wonder about and to ponder. There is always something.. My favorite ways to get to places are bicycling and walking; or reading, or thinking, or asking. Please feel free to ask back, as I continue to wonder out loud, express joy or concern, or, sometimes, talk through my hat.

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