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February is a fickle month....
and the shortest month of the year.
A Roman month, Februarius, was named after the Latin term februum meaning "purification".
There are some other Old English names for February like Solmonath or "mud-month"; and Kkale-monath (for cabbage)
In Finnish, it is helmikuu or the month of the pearl (snow melts in droplets on branch tips and looks like pearls) ;
Polish and Urkanian refer to February as the month of ice or hard frost.
In Macedonian, it is the month of cutting (wood)
...and in Czech, the month of submerging (of river ice)
No matter the history of this month, or all the trite phrases that make us think that this is a special month, this, the shortest month, drags and gives us days like this.....
(A typical February snowstorm in upstate New York)
It is winter one day and the next, something green pops up… enough of a hint of spring that gets my blood singing… then, oops, winter again.
It is a fickle month… full of changes, and promises…. the faint note of a far-away bird in the midst of winter pretending spring is nigh.
So, what do we do?
Sharpen our tools. March will come along eventually and if the snow is not too deep, pruning can start for those shrubs and bushes that are best pruned in late winter.
And in the northern hemisphere, there is little else that can be done in the garden, but you could start your seeds indoors.
Look at the bare bones of your garden and plan a new feature… or a new bed.(see more on design)
Put your notes in your garden journal…. add the tags and where you planted what… that is, if you didn’t do that already. (notes here on journalling)
Ah, yes, how could I forget the one day in February that is both loving and unkind...
Here is a way to fix both....
The day before Valentine’s Day, buy some roses for yourself…. don’t wait for someone to send you some. Besides, love yourself first and it is easier to love others…. better still, buy roses for someone who will be pleasantly shocked and deliver them a few days after Valentine’s Day.
One year, eons ago, a dear friend bought an armful of daffodils and delivered a few to each of her friends on the dullest, greyest February day…. I shall never forget that.
In fact, I should/will do that this year.
But today is sunny and I am watching the Cardinal eat cedar seeds.
Perhaps tomorrow it will be dull again.
Or, we could do what the poem below suggests.....
"If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul"
- Muslihuddin Sadi,
13th Century Persian Poet