February can be a tricky month. Usually one of the coldest in these parts where I reside, it can also be very unpredictable. So far this February it hasn’t been as bad as what we’re used to here. We’ve had a few average days, as in the single digits, but not many.
This February has been typical in another way though, it’s been mostly dreary and gray, and unquestionably somber. At least if you happen to live in Upstate NY. I was recently told about an article where the author, citing the crappy weather, the failing infrastructure, the abysmal employment rate and various and sundry other legitimately accurate reasons, made a case that all of us, everyone, “should leave.” That we should “get out asap”. And to depart to… “anywhere”. “Anywhere would be better”. And honestly it’s hard to argue with this fairly reasonable viewpoint.
Here’s the thing though. There are just as many legit reasons not to leave. We’re surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery and countryside in the state. Most people here, often like any other place, where gossip, anger, and lets face it, all kinds of nasty politics abound, are also kind, and there for you when you really need them.
And then there’s the whole apocalypse situation. If there is one thing that can be said for those of us who have survived Upstate and all the inherent obstacles, we’re tough. If the electric goes out, we pull out the candles and blankets, if the snow is four feet deep, we still go to work. Apocalypse, schmocaplypse, piece of cake. There have also been theories that living here will be the best bet when (laugh to keep from crying), it happens.
Whether true or not, (and of course no one wants to test that theory), it’s a good one to throw out there when the discourse turns to what a shite place to live this is. It’s also somewhat curious that these same people who point out the down side of living here, are the same ones, who come here for some of the most spectacular leaf peeping there is. Or to ply the countless streams, and other waterways with their top of the line kayaks, enjoying the vistas, and the fresh air.
Yes winter here can be brutal, nevertheless it can also be stunningly beautiful. Something those who live here can take for granted. So it’s a good thing to remember this, and get out and enjoy it. Even on the bleakest days, it can be invigorating. If nothing else, it’ll leave you so exhausted from slogging through the snow, and wet, that you’ll sleep really well. (Unless like me, you have anxiety and tend to lie awake questioning your existence).
Thankfully there are the other three seasons to break up the year. Spring, my personal favorite, brings all new life, and the promise of sunshine and warmth (that is if it arrives, and winter doesn’t skip directly to ninety degree weather). Summer brings the freedom from layers of clothes, boots, and bone chilling days, (and often the life sucking kind of humidity and heat that lesser mortals eschew). Then if and when Autumn arrives, (and summer doesn’t burn directly into a wet cold early winter) it gets us set for those colder days, and by then we’re usually ready and looking forward to wearing our sweaters, and scarves.
The problem with February is, that we’re sick of the cold, and the layers, so it feels longer. Then March is an even bigger trickster. This is because for some reason we tend to feel like it should mean that the cold weather is finally done, and usually that’s March’s lie. But if you took the weather of March, and put it in the middle of January, or February, we would be running around in shorts extolling how great it is out. (Unless you’re used to tropical weather, like some people I know, and anything under sixty eight degrees is torture.) It’s all a matter of perspective.
February is the month when it would be nice to be hibernating. It feels as if that is exactly what we should be doing, like a throwback to neanderthal days. Why fight it? Unfortunately few of us have that option.
I guess I’m using this as an excuse for my own recent lethargy. Maintaining the working position that supports myself and family, seems to take all the energy I have. After which, being creative, painting, or writing sometimes feels like an insurmountable mountain. But perhaps these changes in season are here to make us feel exactly this way. To make us step back, breath, dive deep into morose thoughts, and of questioning what’s next. To make us move on to that next stratum. The next strategy that presents itself to us. It’s worked before. And Spring is right around the corner, hopefully.
I hope everyone is thinking deep, morose and questioning thoughts to ready themselves for the next season. Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!
3 thoughts on “Embracing The Melancholy Of February.”
Here in Vermont, I’m in hibernation mode, so February isn’t too bad. I struggle more in March, when the temperature creeps up and cabin fever sets in, but the ground is a morass of slush, ice and mud.
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Yes, I totally get that. Here as well.
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I usually like February because that’s when I start to notice longer days are on their way. Also I like winter, which we usually have most of in February. This year, it’s pretty much been raining all the time (but snowing up in the mountains). Definitely in need of some melancholy embracing.
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