The Simple Life
By Michele Meier Vosberg
Poet T.S. Eliot proclaimed, “April is the cruelest month.” Though he was probably brilliant and certainly imaginative when it came to illuminating the personalities of cats, I must disagree on this point. If you are looking for cruelty of a seasonal nature, I think February tops the list. It has always been my least favorite month. February’s most positive aspect, in my estimation, is that it is the shortest month.
April brings promise of springtime, at least here in the Midwest. In other parts of the country April is springtime. February is absolutely and undeniably still winter. April means longer days and warmer temperatures; February means evenings that are dark too soon and temperatures that still dip below optimal. In April, rain brings proverbial promise of spring flowers. In February, rain brings black ice on the highways.
If the weather doesn’t get to you, the clothing might. In April, I am inclined to wear a colorful new shirt, a swingy skirt and sexy shoes. In February, I am inclined to wear black pants, a warm sweater and sensible loafers. Again. There are no great clothes that really work in February unless you look good in puffed, quilted, down. If April is denim jackets and tennis shoes, February is tired winter coats and grimy boots.
Though February may be the wasteland of seasons, all is not lost. In an attempt to cheer myself up and make it through February I’ve devised a list of redeeming qualities for this less than desirable month. If you love February in all its icy, winter glory, you need read no further. You have your snow and wind, go bask in it. We’re different creatures, you and I, though I hold no grudge. You can have February; I’ll take September. But if, like me, you find February something to be gotten through, tolerated like a cold or flu, then read on.
Redeeming Qualities for February
- Groundhog’s Day is a mild diversion. In the worst case scenario, the groundhog sees his shadow and predicts six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we get an early spring. I figure it is a win-win situation. Even if we get six more weeks of winter, spring should arrive on March 15th. Who could argue with that?
- You still have a couple of months to do your taxes.
- It is a great time to eat hearty foods like stew, lasagna, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Get out the cookbooks!
- You still have a few months to lose weight before summer. (see number 3 above)
- You can watch TV guilt free; after all, it is too cold to do anything out doors. Why do you think they chose February for TV sweeps month?
- It is the perfect month to curl up in front of a fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, find
- Football is over. This one probably doesn’t apply to football fans, but it works for me.
- Your sweetheart might present you with something on Valentine’s Day. I have low expectations for the day, so I am never disappointed and often pleasantly surprised.
- You can surprise someone else on Valentine’s Day. Making other people happy is a great way to improve your own morale.
- The spring garden magazines and catalogs are out. You can’t actually do the work of gardening, but you can plan and dream, which is more fun anyway. I think that armchair gardening is right up there with armchair traveling.
If all else fails, remember that it will be over in 28 days.
I hope that helps. If not, perhaps you could take the advice of T.S. Eliot, who when he wasn’t writing Cats or The Wasteland also said, “I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.” Now he’s talking. These are words I can aspire to. Whatever your choice in this dreariest of months, may you endure. I’ll look forward to March, and whether it comes in like a lion or lamb, I’ll be there to welcome it.
With bells on.
Michele Meier Vosberg is a teacher, consultant and freelance writer. She’s doing her best live a simple life in a complicated world. When all else fails you can find her in the backyard reading a book.