Tales from the Northern Forests


January


Stand still and listen...
During the month of January various winterly figures visit the Northern Forests.
There is Lord Frost, maybe better known as Hoar Frost. Lord Frost comes after a cloudless night. He arrives either at night or early morning when heat is rapidly lost into the atmosphere. The most air close to the ground is quickly cooled and frozen. This frozen dew then forms a thick, white, icy sediment; the trademark of Hoar Frost.

Another figure that drifts pass is Rime Frost. His supercooled water droplets of fog freeze on contact with the surfaces it drifts past resulting in rough, white icy crystals on the windward side of tree branches, fences and hedges.

On cold, dry days when there is a severe frost and no moisture in the air to form any white droplets Black Frost makes his appearance.

While on cold, rainy days Glazed Frost comes along as the rain freezes on contact with cold surfaces, producing an icy film. On days like that the roads are visited by the notorious Black Ice.
The month of January recalls the Roman God 'Janus'. He is the guardian of all gates and doors and known as the two-faced god who can look in opposite directions at the same time. His temple in Rome was open in wartimes and closed during times of peace. During the whole Roman history it only closed three times.
January was named for Janus because he is at the gate, looking both backwards to the old year and ahead to the new.


Before the Law

A short well-known parable by Franz Kafka
About a door, a doorkeeper and a man from the country. Read >>
In the early days of Rome, the year comprised only ten, roughly lunar months from March to December. They excluded the 'dead' or 'fallow' period which now comprises January and February. This was a common practice and parallels have been found in places as far apart
as Africa and New Zealand.

Noma Pompillus, according to tradition the second king of Rome, is supposed to have introduced the months January and February somewhere in the seventh century BC.
But it was not until 1752 (AD!) that we changed to the 'new style' or 'Gregorian' calendar and January, instead of March, became the start
of our year.


February  >>

Other Tales from the Northern Forests  >>

Brigitte Franssen 2017
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