So we reach the end of January. Not the end of winter, but the end of the 31 days we loathe, the month too long, too cold, too snowy, too burdensome.

February is within sight, more than I can say for the ground beneath the heavy snowpack. Within reach is our hope for an early spring. We can dream now.

The sun climbs higher — that is, when we can see it — lifting my enthusiasm for winter back to where it was in December. You see, January has a way of draining the romance from early winter’s soft snowfalls.

Snow in January normally has a freight train of cold chasing close behind. We’ve mostly avoided that this month, but we haven’t avoided the snow. For those who slide and stride on the white stuff, that has been good. But the shoveling is getting as old as the snowbank is tall.

As I sit where the wood stove heat plays on my feet, I wonder if January is merely mimicking our reaction to it. After all, what do we offer the year’s first month other than a dour face atop hunched shoulders?

January is the month we resolve to dull down — eat better and less, perhaps go month-long dry while vowing to exercise more when we aren’t hunkering down to pay the price of holiday, heating and tax bills. Freewheeling December is gone, and February’s tease of spring is only a hope. So we trudge through January, hating to see it come, loving to see it go.

The month looks at us and has little motive to offer more than an owl’s hoots in the cold night. Perhaps next January I’ll vow to take a brighter 31-day journey. Perhaps.

Greschner is Rice Lake Chronotype sports editor.