Between Christmas and the middle of February, our home becomes a "den" where the family hibernates. From late November to early January, our work day begins and ends in the dark, tricking us into believing the actual day is very short, so that when 5:00 rolls around, it feels like 7, when 7 rolls around, it feels like 9, and so on. Throw in the extra hours required by the holidays and by the time New Years' arrives, we're exhausted. So we hole up. Unlike bears, however, we get fat DURING hibernation.
Our January evenings look like this: pajamas by 6 or 6:30 PM, reading, blogging, internet surfing, television/movies. Our most vigorous activity is getting up to get something out of the 'fridge. Exercise slows to a standstill, our tennis shoes rest comfortably in the closet, and the treadmill becomes a clothesline for drying sweaters. Meals consist of whatever we can throw together in 30 minutes. A night out is filling the car with gas and picking up Taco Bell.
So there you have it. We're all a little puffy from added pounds, our metabolism is nearly that of a dead man, and we sleep more than normal. We would wallow in guilt, except for the fact that nearly everyone we know in Montana lives this way during January. February is the month we begin slowly waking from our stupor and March gives us a spark of spring fever, but right now we're like a snake in cold weather. We barely move.
In the meantime, daylight is returning at the beginning and end of the day, and has triggered the "Hey, it's time to wake up" response, but this is not easy. Our den is comfortable. We don't want to leave it. We know the longer we put it off the harder it will be, like starting a diet or giving up smoking or beginning an exercise program or kicking a drug addiction. We'll start with baby steps by taking inventory of the things we did last summer and wondering where we got the energy.
*Yawn* And so begins the stretch into wakefulness. Full consciousness will take a bit longer, so give us a couple of weeks.