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Hansel column: What's good about January? It finally ends

The best part of January in Minnesota, like any stay in a hospital or visit to the dentist, is seeing it end.

It is not only our coldest month of the year but the loneliest. It is one of those Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD) months, which medical science admits it does not fully understand.

January seems to go on forever, although there are six months with just as many days on the calendar. Vehicles refuse to start, furnaces stop working, pipes burst, everyone is sick and no one seems to be around.

Our long periods of darkness during the winter in Minnesota have a lot to do with our animosity about January. By the time January sets in, those of us who drive to work in the dark and drive home the same way feel like gophers. Life has become nothing but an endless succession of work, school and darkness.

It does not help that the Christmas holidays are over and many people find they are broke in January. If December is a month for indulgence then January is the month when you get the check. People living on credit are buried with bills, and to add some frosting to that cake there is the brutal tap on the shoulder that tax time is coming.

Viking football fans experienced one wonderful moment in January. It was Jan. 14 when Stefon Diggs warmed them up with a touchdown play as time was running out in a playoff game with New Orleans. Their thrilling 29-24 victory gave some of us the tantalizing hope that this was the year the Vikings would finally kick that Super Bowl jinx through the uprights. True to form, after first raising our hopes, the Vikings shattered them. They were blown off the field in a 38-7 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game Jan. 21. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the reality that there could be better teams than the Vikings in the NFL.

For the community of Wadena, January brought us a decision in the Antonio St. Marie case at the Wadena County Courthouse. Anyone with an ounce of compassion had to be struck by the tragedy of that situation. When two young people can at first find happiness and then see it disintegrate into a murder trial where one is the victim and the other the accused, you have to ask why.

There was also the death of Wadena daycare provider Darcy Fink, the 37-year-old mother of five who lost her battle with colon cancer. She had everything to live for, and she left her family and friends a legacy of courage and love.

January always comes to an end. It is only a matter of time. The endlessness of the month is as much an illusion as that false euphoria some of us find in a drink or a drug.

So why not look ahead? Give yourself something to look forward to. January is over.