Janus and Tammikuu

Janus – etching, 40 x 37.5 cm.

As I crack open new calendars, I think about January and the Roman god Janus and about looking back and looking forward. I wonder about the Finnish name for this month, Tammikuu which means oak month. The Finnish wikipedia says this (my loose translation):

“Tammikuu” is the year’s first month and midwinter in the northern hemisphere, which suggests the name for the month. In the Häme dialect “tammi” also means heart or nucleus, or alternatively navel, centre, axis. “Tammikuu” has sometimes been called heart month.

I like the notion of a month devoted to the heart and centering oneself. Certainly I’m pulling into myself a little these early January days as I contemplate and indulge over some books. I read by the windows for it’s been snowing steadily since before midnight last night – so beautiful to watch! Even with thaws alternating with night time freezing, there’s still a lot of snow on the ground, now building up again. I don’t remember having such a long continuous snowy period here, almost three weeks now. I love it but admit it’s getting a little tiring navigating it. I’m lucky to be able to stay home if I wish though I did get up to the library and the food store yesterday. This long spell of winter whiteness may be coming to an end with temperatures about to climb and rain about to pour, creating flooded streets and darker days. I have mixed feelings about returning to normal life.

Instead of putting up another snow photo, I thought it appropriate to re-post (from here) an old etching of mine which happens to be called Janus. Hope you enjoy it.

January 3, 2009 in Canada and BC, Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric by Marja-Leena