I hate February. Especially February 1st.
The first day of the second month of the year hits me hard.
February has a hold on me like no other month. I feel its foot on my back as I lay face down on the frozen ground, taunting me to try to get up, taunting me to just give up. It torments me. The darkness, the cold, the dead of winter.
In The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana Rick Bass names this seasonal bullying tactic as “The February Effect.” He writes, “There is something about February, even a good February, that tries and tests and threatens to darken the soul, and brings a bit of hesitation to even the boldest of hearts.”
In past years, February has snuck up on me and slapped me when I least expected it. There were really challenging Februaries like when this happened. Last year we went to a wedding in Cuba in February. I thought the taste of summer would satisfy me until Spring. Nope. February hit me with an even greater vengeance with its inhuman stranglehold that quickly dissolved any memory of the sun and surf.
I just don’t know why this shortest month of the year has such a big impact on my psyche and overall well-being. I have made such enormous strides in my commitment to nurture the love of nature with my children over the last 4 years. I have pushed myself past my comfort zones – hiking in the rain, sleet, arctic temperatures, and have even camped. I have embraced winter activities – sledding when we can, skating twice a week, outdoor play every day, hanging out at our local creek area for 8 hours once a week while the children are in their outdoor nature programs.
So what is it? Is it the fact that I am done trying to find lost mittens? Is it because I am exhausted with all the layering and preparation for the inclement weather which is all in the name of “enjoying the season”? Is it because it’s around this time that I dearly miss the sun? Or am I just incapable of loving each and every minute of the winter season? Is it the fact that one more cup of hot chocolate will make me hurl? Is it because I see February like a shadow threatening to “darken my soul”?
Then I remember part of a quote from Rick Bass: “28 days of the fantastic beauty of the clouds…time for quiet, steady work with very low and attainable goals, or best of all, work with no goals, work that is simply work.”
I can dig that.
Work that is simply work.
A step forward is just that: a step forward.
I will have a small goal this month: to write daily. This month I will write here every day using prompts from writealm. No editing. One word next to another word. For no other reason than to string some thoughts together – random thoughts, observations, experiences during this month that I dread.
Words that are simply words.
As the first day of the second month winds down, I am cautiously optimistic. A first. I am accepting the heaviness like a warm winter coat instead of a weight holding me underwater. I will reflect inward and express outward. Here.
Oh it’s on, February. It’s on.
P.S. Dear Reader: Do me a favour. Make a comment when you can. Say you get it. Say you don’t. Tell me what you think. Tell me how you feel. Explain to me why I can’t love winter as much as my children do. Tell me if February is kicking you down too. We can support each other and survive The February Effect.
Trying to survive the February blues by getting my write on with writealm: