Five Reasons Why February Is Not So Bad

I just noticed my last post was commenting on how warm it was in December.  So much for that!  Now that it’s barely above zero where I live, it feels like a real February.  I’ve found Red_Heart___1.2011this a depressing month since my dad died in February many years ago.  But on this sub-zero Valentine’s Day, I decided there are reasons why February is a good month, too (in addition to my niece Judy’s birthday!)

  1. The days are finally starting to get longer.  When you have a long commute via car or train the late sunrises and early sunsets of winter in the north make each day a little grimmer.  I noticed last week that the sun was up before 7 a.m., hooray!  And the angle of the sun has changed, so there’s a pool of warm sunlight for the cat to lie in by late morning, and again in the afternoon on the other side of the condo.  So he’s happy, too.
  2. Some of us get a long weekend.  Not everyone gets Presidents Day as a holiday, but for those of us who do, it’s a welcome break in the long winter dreariness, without having to use a vacation day.  Any long weekend is a good thing, even if you don’t go anywhere special.
  3. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romance.   I heard the other day that Valentine’s Day is the most popular day for pet adoption of the whole year!  That’s a great way to show what love really means, by giving a home to a homeless pet. Also, we can all show some love to the other people in our lives who aren’t romantic partners.  When I was younger I was sad if Valentine’s Day didn’t feature a date or a present, but now I like to think of all the kinds of love we give and get.  As the Beatles song says, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
  4. It’s a short month, and it’s almost March.  In the south, spring comes in March.  Up here, not so much–we still have another month of cold and potential snow.  But spring feels a lot closer than it did in December.  I’m dreaming of forsythia and crocuses…
  5. I can’t think of another reason.  But every good blogger knows that “five” and “seven” are magic numbers in blog post titles.  So use your creativity and make up your own fifth reason.  If it’s a good one, I’ll make it public.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Moons of Jupiter

With Ron, in Malmo, Sweden

February is a tough month for me.  Daddy died in February, when I was only 22.  My late companion died in February some years ago, drowned during vacation in Florida.  So I’m always glad to see the back of this month, and spend some time remembering.

The first time I saw death close up was my grandfather’s death when I was a teenager.  My father drove us up the hill from our farm to Pap’s white clapboard house to wait for the ambulance.  Aunt Nina had heard Pap fall in the bathroom, and found him dead on the floor.  He was almost 90 years old.

I saw the ambulance men bring Pap out on a stretcher.  He was neatly dressed, as always, in grey pants, a crisply ironed shirt, and black laced-up boots.  He had combed his thin, fine white hair, but he hadn’t shaved yet, so his chin had white bristles.    His cold blue eyes were open wide, his nose jutting, his jaw slack.  He looked surprised, nothing more.  Daddy stood frozen as his father went by.

I have seen death again since then, my father in a coffin, my mother, Ron breathing out his life in a frantic knot of paramedics.  I have seen old people fighting death like commandos, wrestling it down, falling to it.  I see it advancing down the hall, lurking behind a hospital bed, swerving on a highway.

I used to think that, whenever you lost someone, eventually the gaping hole would be filled by another comfort of some kind.  Now I think that we’re all like the moons of Jupiter.  We’re pelted by meteorites.  Sometimes you get a glancing blow.  Sometimes you get a crater.  Sometimes you crack into pieces, and you’re not a moon anymore.  You keep orbiting around.  The holes may not hurt as much, but they are still there.  And we look for comfort.