“February is a suitable month for dying. Everything around is dead, the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.”
– Anna Quindlen, One True Thing
Let me be clear. I am not a fan of the month of February. Yes, I am aware that there are a lot of fantastic holidays in February…admirable tributes like Black History Month, President’s Day, and (occasionally) Ash Wednesday. Obviously, there are good times to be had…Ground Hog’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, and Mardi Gras. Then there are wacky observances like Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day (7th), Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (11th) and Do a Grouch a Favor day (16th). The month of February even offers special days like Random Acts of Kindness Day (17th) and Love Your Pet Day (20th), not to mention the big holiday of the month–Valentine’s Day. We’ve packed a lot into this little month and yet…for me, February remains the longest month of the year.
I think a lot of it has to do with the weather. It is too cold. Now there’s cold and then there’s too cold. February brings with it the kind of temperatures that people refer to as “too cold to snow.” It’s absolutely bitter with winds that will cut through you like a knife. It’s not just a Kansas thing either. When I lived on the West Coast I still loathed the month of February. Don’t let the California stereotype fool you…there’s very little sun to be had in February. Rain, rain and more rain. Gloom, dark clouds, and extra gloom. (Can you tell that I don’t like rain either?)
Yes, February seems extra long because of the weather but there’s also another factor. I’m not sure exactly how to describe this one, but I’ll just call it “The Letdown.” Here’s where we’ve passed all the fun holidays and those New Year’s resolutions start to fall apart. You know what I mean…the diet failed, the get organized frenzy has died down, and we are weeks away from Spring Break or any sort of exciting getaway. “The Letdown” reminds us that we have nowhere to run.
Speaking of nowhere to run…February is also the time of year where everybody is sick with something. I actually start to fear my husband and my kids. My kids especially. Every time I see their cute little faces I think about all the germs they’ve picked up at school. Yuck! They’re probably sick of me telling them to wash their hands every time we come home from school, church, shopping, etc. As a certified germaphobe, I am on pins and needles all month. My hands are so dry they’re practically untouchable. Make the school lunches–wash my hands–pour some juice–wash my hands–touch a doorknob–wash my hands. You get the picture. Once (obviously a long time ago) a nurse told me that I had the softest hands she had ever touched, but not anymore, lady! I’m practically bankrolling Aveeno right now and I’m pretty sure holding my hand on Valentine’s Day isn’t what it used to be!
Good, that brings me to Valentine’s Day. It might mean something if they didn’t put the Valentine candy out on December 26th (or sooner!) The holiday has become almost as overwhelming as Christmas. The pressure is on to find the perfect gift coupled with the added pressure of trying to find the right card. You don’t want to say too much or the wrong thing. Here’s where I feel really bad for people who are still dating. Talk about complicated. I should feel sorry for my husband, too. I’m not easy to shop for under any circumstances and I’m certainly no picnic at Valentine’s Day. Not into flowers or candy…mostly I just want a nap.
This has been fun…all my ranting about February. As I started writing this blog I came across several others who dislike February just as much as I do. I actually found that encouraging. I also came upon this little piece of trivia. February is named for an ancient purification festival…I don’t know all the details but I imagine everyone was so busy hibernating and avoiding the cold weather that they couldn’t help but purify themselves. Picture this, people of an ancient city where the temperatures are so cold that they stay in…not just for a day, but for several. Sounds like fasting to me. They survive only by drinking snowmelt (doesn’t get much purer than that.) Their isolated lifestyle means less exposure to germs, thus no risk of colds or flu. Consequently, there wouldn’t be a need for excessive hand washing. And finally, I’m pretty sure the pressures of Valentine’s Day just didn’t exist back then. Maybe these ancients were on to something!
So it’s day one of this never-ending month and I may have just solved my own dilemma. I will no longer be a victim of the “February funk.” It’s all about hibernation…so excuse me while I get my favorite blanket and try to consume a much coffee as I possibly can without leaving the house. I mean, I’ve only got 28 days 🙂