Here we are again. February. The tuesday of the year. Which is kind of sad because every month of the year, like every day of the week, has it’s own charms. Regardless of this, february seems to be the time of the year when I really start thinking about what I’m doing with my life and wishing I were someplace other than where I’m at. I’d love to say that the exception was that february I was in Paris, but I recall wishing I was in Ireland or Barcelona at the time. Is it the proximity to winter and spring? It’s a state of meterological limbo? I’m sure that is the reason why the holiday of Imbolc exists. A celebration of the inbetween time. A day dedicated to St Brigid, (I imagine her flame haired) virginal patron of sacred fires and midwives, rumored to be the origins of another familiar virginal icon, Mary (who knows what colour her hair is under that covering) .Complete with weather predictions (judged by snake, badger or size of divine hag’s fire) it’s a brilliant way to ensure that spirits are raised at what might be the darkest time of the year for some. Of course, this ancient tradition has given way to more christian friendly ritual, including Candlemas and later still Groundhog’s Day. A celebration of the halfway point between the darkest day of the year and the first day of spring, just in time to let us know that an end is in sight.
And yes, I’m totally one of those people who, upon waking on february second, rejoices to overcast weather, because that means the shadow won’t be seen, the groundhog won’t be scared of it’s own shadow and race back into it’s den to await spring, guaranteeing us six more weeks of winter. Which is really funny, since the first day of spring is 6 weeks from now regardless of whether that underground denizen of weather prediction is scared into hiding by something as seemingly innocuous as his shadow or not. I say seemingly innocuous because I have had moments of being terrified by some part of myself in a place I wasn’t necessarily expecting to see it, be it shadow, mirrored reflection or severed thumb. Perhaps we should congratulate the groundhog on it’s ability to still surprise itself, even after all these years.
Celebrations of happy mediums aside, it still remains that february carries the burden of being the month of disgruntlement at least to me. There are bright spots, in the form of the birthdays of some of my very favorite people on the planet, and I love that it’s short, sometimes contains an extra day just because and it makes people think of the colour red(a personal favorite), romantic poetry and Lupercalia! Ok, perhaps the only person still thinking of lupercalia is a certain flame haired patron saint of trickster gods with Kokopelli/Pan tattooed on her shoulder writing this blog right now. And now that I think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that my recently acquired canine familiar would most resemble a fox or coyote, both tricksters of the animal kingdom.
So why is it that every year, without exception it would seem, given that it’s shorter than the rest of the months, I still find the leisure to expound on where I’d rather be, rather than be completely satisfied about where I am. For the most part, where I’m at in my head is a place of contentment, perhaps stemming from the knowledge that soon enough I’ll start feeling restless in body, so my head should compensate with a moderation of calm. An emotional balm for itchy feet that are stuck wearing shoes for at least another couple of months. Also because my head is often still concerned with the rationale of hibernation this time of year. This year, perhaps that is more pertinent than ever, considering that I’m temporarily in a position of not paying into either rent or mortgage. It’s a challenge for my head to be the reasonable one within the mind body relationship right this second because the wintertime-nesting-hibernatey urge is so very strong. I think body is starting to think she might win out on the road trip argument because of perceived habitat-less circumstances, but until brain figures out a steady income circumstance, body is just going to have to wait a little longer.
I know this is a month when many people take vacations, an escape from the everyday and while I totally get the need to step away from time to time, whenever I consider such a course of action, it’s more of a desire to step into a life away. That is to say, I want the escape to encompass the life. I want the roadtrip, the excursion, the adventure to be the everyday. And that is the crux of my thoughtful meanderings surrounding February, as it does every year. By the time march rolls around and spring is more evident, change and life and birdsong filling the air with possibility and the promise of summer to come, the need to be active in the face of dark winter and hibernation abates somewhat. But every year, there is a thought that if I can spur myself to action in this, the shortest dark month of the season, that momentum will easily carry me throughout the year. I’ll be like a shark, consistent in movement, travelling the world in the pursuit of whatever it is I’m looking for, content even if it takes the rest of my long and happy life.
But knowing as I do, that this feeling will pass when spring grows closer, perhaps this will make me more readily find comfort within the discomfort of wanting to be anywhere other than where I am. Because here is not so bad.