Tuesday, February 2, 2010


My formative years, spent in the Green Mountains of Vermont, left me with an intense and enduring dislike for the month of February. Like Death Valley it marks the lowest and most inhospitable point of a vast desert stretching from the holiday season to the arrival of spring. There’s something claustrophobic about February- it’s a leaden wall, a month and a half thick, separating you like a buried coffin from fresh air and liberty of movement. Winter stops feeling cozy and becomes a confining thing. You wish you could escape- sleep through it like a bear or fly away like a goose. In truth, I attempted both. I spent my days in former Februarys engaged in a kind of flight (TV, books and magazines) and seeking oblivion (naps),but both calendar and clock crept along like an old woman on an icy sidewalk. February is an endurance thing.

In my collection of books I have several biographies of Samuel De Champlain. One of them contains a journal entry which he authored by firelight on a cold February night in the early 1600’s. With numb fingers he wrote something to the effect that most think of spring as representing rebirth and newness of life, but to him it had come to represent paradise or the life hereafter, and he had come to yearn for it in much the same way.

My heart goes out to all of you behind the leaden wall. I've moved to Southern California, but the bitter flavor of February is still in my mouth.

* * *

Winter is a death, it’s true,
But spring is not a birth anew-
After winter’s cold, snow, and ice
It strikes me more as paradise.

* * *

It’s a colorless winter day

And for months it will remain this way.

Days on days of white and gray-

White and gray!

There’s nothing to do but wait ‘til spring

When the land’ll thaw and the birds’ll sing,

And oh the colors spring will bring-

Spring will bring!


lisa d said...


MomZup said...

Love this post! I actually enjoy February and its incumbent shortness. It is an oddity with that extra day now and then. I also enjoy February as it contains Valentine's Day and the memory of that precious date when my beloved asked if I would marry him. Very special month to this old woman making her way across the icy walk.