The high has some how come and gone today without so much as hello to let us know she was ever even here. The gusts of wind have given us chills close to fifty below. The dusty snow has drifted over our driveway so high, our neighbor, Carl, has had to plow through to free up not one but both of our vehicles at once.
Yesterday I looked out the window and laughed with the realization that this white land looked so very familiar to me. I turned my chin in the direction I thought the sun may be hiding behind the grey curtain and remembered. I remembered the precise view of the white sand beaches I saw on the coastlines of Georgia. Great dunes are carved out of the roads on the sides of farms, piled so high the fences are covered. I picture cows meandering right over the sandy lines, sticking their wet noses towards the sun. Frames of sturdy poison parsnip and leftover fescue imitate the hollow grasses of the coastline. The striped shadows against the smooth, icy snow are like the patterns of driftwood trunks against the warm sand. Through the windowpane the howl of the wind brought me back to my actual location. This tundra. This lifeless looking landscape.
So we make up for it indoors. Trapped though it feels at times, the comfort of a warm stove and a thick sweater is so real and deep this time of year. Thawing your hands over a steaming pot, putting cold toes under a wool blanket, another good book, another row knitted, another round of chutes and ladders. It is the February dance. It is the last month you’re not allowed (or supposed) to hope. For even though we all know March is just as frigid as February, we let just the tiniest bit of sunshine into our lungs and it fills us iwht a sinful hope.
It is a hope I am anticipating and so I did what I do and I filled a room with the scent of the earth. Pots have been optimistically filled with tiny onion seeds and flowers far to acclimated to warmth to ever survive up here in this cold country. But I will try none the less. We sowed lettuces and herbs to be eaten in the doldrums of March when nothing yet is green. We built grow light stands from PVC piping and force them alive so that our hope is something tangible. Something we can stand in the doorway together and see.
Last week we got our annual winter flu, which both terrified me as I recalled last years never-ending seasick nausea during my first trimester with Jasper, as it invigorated me when I became well again and my eyes could be fully opened and my legs felt solid once again. And now that we are well the ache to return outdoors is upon us, despite the angry winter winds.
Oh February, you don’t scare me. How could you? You are the shortest month after all.