Although February shares some details with January, it is without a doubt the hardest month to pronounce. Feb-ru-ary forces our mouths to do funny things and consequently most English speakers in the U.S. often totally drop the uncomfortable “r.” This, of course, leads to spelling problems among primary school children and many adults.
February is also, to be quite honest, usually an uncomfortable month. It is often cold, dark, windy, and can become snowy. In brutal honesty, it is a month that is probably aptly associated with the groundhog … a basically useless animal. This is especially true if you are a farmer. A farmer likes to feel like a painter as he plows his fields with very attractive parallel rows that often follow the contours of the earth. The groundhog seems to live and derive great joy by destroying the wonderful symmetry of the farmer’s handiwork.
I used to be paid a handsome fee by my uncle for destroying this evil pest that built hills and burrows that un-did the beauty of seemingly infinite parallel rows. At times these creatures worked so hard on their hills and burrows that my uncle’s tractor would get bogged down in their holes. Once, I believe, his tractor actually tipped over when he was harvesting corn. (Of course, my mother always quipped that this uncle wasn’t a great farmer!)
February is in any event, a misfit month. It sits between January and March, both wonderfully nice months with amazing events, like New Year’s Day and my birthday! In January we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in March there is St. Patrick’s Day and Guinness. The only sure thing in February is bad weather!
When I was in school we did have a holiday to honor Abraham Lincoln, a very worthy individual, in February. And, we had a separate holiday to honor George Washington. These two celebrations overshadowed Groundhog Day. These two notable men gave this month some class and some status. Alas, today this honor has been lost in the modern rush to rename holidays.
Today, we celebrate, “Presidents Day.” The true irony about “Presidents Day” is that it actually only celebrates Washington’s Birthday and ignores Abraham Lincoln entirely. It sounds much more inclusive than it actually is. It is an example of how the people we elect are less than honest and fool us into believing that they are doing something worthwhile, while they do something that actually serves no useful purpose.
Getting back to the month of February itself, it is the only month with fewer than thirty days! There seems something so terribly untidy about throwing one month into the mix of months that doesn’t even always have the same number of days every year! One year it’s 28 days, the next two years it’s 28 days, the next year it’s 29 days; and it never lasts until 30 days.
It’s quite untidy. After all the things that we do to celebrate man’s wonderful mind, you’d think that we could have done better with the calendar! Oh, I’ve had this whole thing explained to me many times, but it just doesn’t convince me. Either God made a mistake, or man did! It’s that simple! Of course, I would never question God’s will … after all he made me and my whole family and you and your whole family … and we all know that God never errs. But he certainly has a sense of humor.
I think back to my grandfather who for years worked as a brakeman on the railroad and, after a while, decided that he’d like to be a farmer. How could any man equate being a good brakeman with being a good farmer? Maybe it had something to do with those parallel rows covering the landscape? Of course, the farming uncle I spoke of earlier was from an entirely different genetic stock than I spring from.
Mon, Jan 30, 2012
A pleasant surprise and a lost art
Wed, Nov 2, 2011
On this summer, global warming and facial hair
Fri, Sep 9, 2011
A summer almost gone?
Mon, Aug 1, 2011
The origins of trail names
Wed, Jul 6, 2011
Where exactly does spirit reside?
Wed, Jun 1, 2011
Where to begin?
Wed, Apr 6, 2011
Considering cougar cuisine
Wed, Mar 2, 2011
The folly of resolutions
Tue, Jan 18, 2011
A place of uncommon beauty
Tue, Jan 4, 2011
Christmas: What does it all mean?
Tue, Dec 21, 2010
A spiritual advisor
Wed, Nov 10, 2010
Understanding personal gifts of everyday people
Tue, Oct 26, 2010
So, after you've done it all, what's left?
Wed, Oct 6, 2010
The context of place
Wed, Sep 22, 2010
Revisiting old friends
Wed, Sep 1, 2010
Paradise is all around on peninsula
Wed, Aug 18, 2010
The wonder in waterfalls
Wed, Aug 4, 2010
A walk in the park does the soul good
Wed, Jul 21, 2010
Trying to explain
Wed, Jul 7, 2010