"Here comes February, a little girl with her first valentine, a red bow for her wind-blown hair, a kiss waiting on her lips, a tantrum just back of her laughter. She is young as a kitten, changeable as the wind, and into everything. She can sulk, she can beam, she changes from one minute to the next. February is a phase, a short phase at that, and she has to be lived with.
February can't be taken seriously too long at a time. It starts with Groundhog Day, which is neither omen nor portent, but only superstition, and it ends, often as not, in a flurry of snow. It is sleet and snow and ice and cold, and now and then it is waxing sunshine and tantalizing thaw and promise. February is soup and mittens, and it is a shirt-sleeve day that demands an overcoat before sundown. It is forsythia buds opening in the house and skid chains clanking on the highway. February is sunrise at 6:30 for the first time since November.
February is a gardener pruning his grape vines today and shoveling a two-foot drift off the front walk tomorrow morning. It is a farmer wondering this week if his hay will last the Winter, and next week wondering if he should start plowing. It is tiny, tight catkins on the alder in the swamp and skunk cabbage thrusting a green sheath up through the ice. February is the tag-end of Winter - we hope. But in our hearts we know it isn't Spring, not by several weeks and at least a dozen degrees.
There's no evidence to support it in the dictionaries, but some say that February's name comes from and ancient and forgotten word meaning "a time that tries the patience."
"Sundial of the Seasons"
"Sundial of the Seasons"
Today is chilly and rainy, a good one for staying indoors. I've been fighting off what I hope is just a cold and/or a sinus infection, given how devastating the flu has been at school. The situation has gotten much worse since I blogged about it last week. Almost 20% of the students enrolled have now been stricken with it, not to mention a good number of teachers and staff members. So far I've had headaches, a sore throat first thing in the morning, sneezing, and a runny nose....but no fever, at least so far. I'll be spending most of this wet, cold day under a blanket with a book and a mug of tea--which would be an ideal February afternoon for me if I felt just a little bit better!
I plan to roast a small chicken for our supper tonight, maybe with some potatoes, carrots, sprigs of rosemary, and cloves of garlic cooked alongside the bird in the pan juices. I imagine bedtime will be early, to try to feel better for work tomorrow...although if I still feel bad I may just stay home. We have enough germs spreading around the place without me adding to them!
How's your Sunday going?