Madison Monday: February is the worst month

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Hanover in snow

The view from my office window in February

My step-daughter, who is in 6th grade, had her first snow day since 4th grade last week. I still had to teach my classes, but my husband stayed home with the stomach flu he’d caught, his second round of sickness since December. Today is the third Monday in a row I have assumed that this weekend was Valentine’s Day and my husband’s birthday; it is as if some primal part of my inner clock is desperately attempting to fast forward through February.

It is at about this point in the southern Indiana winter when I find myself imagining spring and summer. On the drive to work, I comfort myself with the thought that soon enough, all this gray dreariness will be replaced by fuzzy green. I make lists in my head of all the things there are to look forward to in the spring. Folk festival. The smell of turned earth. The cheery bright yellow faces of daffodils. The feel of the sun on your face.

This projecting myself forward into the next season is not something I find myself doing in the middle of summer. Or spring. Or fall. I don’t spend a lot of time in July looking forward eagerly to February. I’d have to say that, really, at no time of year do I say to myself, “Gee, I can’t wait for February.” I feel fairly certain that I come to this realization every year, but it’s only because it must be true–February is the worst month.

Sure, this year the Super Bowl was in February. And though it was delightful in the thrill of the unexpected blackout, it is not quite enough. There’s a gap between the end of the football season and the beginning of baseball (though my husband was very excited to see them loading the trucks for spring training last week). In all honesty, baseball is also just not quite as exciting as football.

Do I need to even say anything about Valentine’s Day? Let it just be this–it is not enough to redeem the month of February.

I firmly believe we all manage to survive February only because it is the shortest month. You think by this age I’d have figured out some way to prepare myself for February. A long escape to sunnier climates. A short-term dosage of anti-depressants. Hibernation. I’m open to any suggestions. How does the rest of the world get through February?


  1. No, no, no – I wish *every* month was February! I love winter – the quiet and the cold and the way it smells. Wait – we don’t even have real winter here – doesn’t even get that cold and barely any snow. I will admit though that I don’t really care about V-Day.

  2. Oh, dear, Robyn. I too love February. Everything Kelly just said–the quiet and the cold and the way it smells… (I love that. February does have its own smell, or could if you thought about it.) Here February is not so quiet, being a busy snowmobile month, but times of day are, like now. I can hear tiny snowflakes falling if I stand outside, and dry beech leaves rsustling. There’s sledding… you might not have sledding, but it redeems a lot that’s wrong with life. There’s hot cocoa with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate sprinkles on top, if you like that kind of thing. There’s great sweater and cozy scarves and substantial comfort-food meals you don’t have to feel guilty about even for a second. There’s reading…

    • Alas, we do not have much in the way of sledding in February. I am knitting a big, bulky sweater which if I don’t finish soon, will have to wait until next winter to be worn. At least the last few days, it has been sunny. I like February best, though, when I’m sitting outside looking out at it!

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