Trying to reason with February


OK February, I’ll try reasoning with you. I’m dejectedly staring outside at the Sangamon River flowing past without me on it. It’s just too cold!

So the self help books I’m reading to cheer myself up during these dull days suggest I should try to focus on the positive; try to keep myself on the sunny side of the street, as the song says. But honestly February, you don’t make it easy.

OK February, so here’s one good thing about you: At least you’re the shortest month of the year.

And hey, even better, at least this year you’re shorter than you were last year. I mean, you’d think that if they were going to pick a month to make a day longer every four years they would have picked a month like April or May or September perhaps. Or really, since it’s an extra day added to the year, they should have just tacked it onto the end so we’d have another day to recover from New Year’s Eve parties.  But why add it you, February, for crying out loud, (and why always during Presidential primary season which is too interminably long to begin with}?

OK, but let’s stay on the positive. You do attempt to redeem yourself slightly with Valentine’s Day. It’s the one where I buy Carol some flowers, a card (with a few lines of made up poetry) and some chocolates. And if I’m lucky, I get a couple of chocolates myself (and if I’m even luckier, a little more than that…)

And you do have Lincoln’s Birthday, the most awesome President by far. Now I realize that George was also born in February and now we have this generic “Presidents Day” thing for both of them, but we all know that Lincoln is way cooler. I mean Washington may have crossed the Potomac during the Revolution, but Lincoln canoed the Sangamon River and even piloted a flatboat and a riverboat on it, too! How many Presidents can say THAT?  

Now February, I’ll even have to admit there are good things about the cold. In the past, you’ve gotten so cold we’ve been able to ice skate on the Sangamon. Heck, this year, one of my buddies told me how he just recently went out on the river, cleared the ice and he and his family had a skating party. Now THAT’S thinking positive about February!

Yes, I’ll admit that I was a deprived child since I never really knew you growing up in Florida. I mean where I grew up, we never even had winter, much less February. Where I come from a ‘season’ was just something you put in your water to boil shrimp.

Winter sports consisted of turning the lawn sprinkler on the shrubs during the (rare) overnight freeze and watching it be covered with icicles in the morning (that melt by noon).  I certainly never owned a sled or a pair of ice skates, I never went snow skiing, and I hadn’t even built my first decent snowman til I was 47.

And I’ll say this, February: you do have a pretty exciting night sky. Orion the Hunter raises his club and shield against Taurus the Bull who has his big red eye on those beautiful Seven Sisters. And at Orion’s feet jumps up the great dog Canis Major with the brightest star in the entire sky, Sirius. And Leo the Lion rises in the East, relaxedly observing the show. And this February, Jupiter dances with the Moon right through the middle it all. I mean, who needs TV?

I’ll admit, February, the reflections of the bare trees in the currents of the river can be mesmerizing. And I’ve learned to appreciate the naked silhouettes of the trees against a western sunset with its shades of orange to yellow to green to blue, indigo and violet.

So I guess February, there are maybe, just maybe, a few things I can honestly say that I do like about you….

But then again February, by the time this column appears, you’ll be nearly three quarters OVER! Practically VANQUISHED!  I will have nearly survived and you’ll pass into the ice buckets of history yet again! March will arrive in a week! The jonquils will start to bloom and you’ll LOSE February! You hear that LOSE! Mwah Ha Ha Ha!

Oops, sorry about that insane outburst there, February. I tried reasoning with you, I really did. But it’s just hard, you make it so very hard.

But hey, at least you’ve got to give me credit for trying. 

Appeared as Notes from the River, Mahomet Citizen, February 20, 2013, by Scott Hays

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