Earth Journal:


by M.L. Faunce

I adore February. But then, a month when love is in the air, snow is (sometimes) on the ground and cherry pies are turning golden brown in the oven is hard not to like. It's a month easily identified on the calendar - though we now celebrate the birth of two great leaders under the generic name of "President's Day." Meanwhile, a lowly groundhog gets called by his own name - Phil. And the shadow this small creature casts on the world sets the tone for the next two months, as the words of our national leaders begin to fall on deaf ears.

It's February and yet it is not. The month that promises an end to winter, and often delivers our deepest snows, has left us adrift this year in mild, wet wash. We haven't gotten the Big One this year that some thought El Niño would bring - nor even a little one. Our ground is as barren of snow as the trees are of leaves. Some hearts are content

We are no poorer for this mild winter. A paucity of one thing often brings memories of the bounty or overabundance of another time. This year we can be almost smug when we remember the blizzard of '95 or the Ice Storms of '94 - though living through them was more like a nightmare. Now, few creatures of the woods and field go unfed. And while we witness scandals in humankind, we know of no scandals in nature - unless it is the voracious squirrel whose wanton appetite exercises power over those lower in his food chain.

It's February, but fall-blooming cherry blossoms have this year bloomed right up to this month of our Founding Father's birth. It's certainly February in the acorns that now lie mounded and cracked open under the red oaks. The second month is here, when we feast and fete and fatten ourselves before entering the period when many will give up pleasures of secular life for the Lenten life and its promise of rebirth.

Daffodils are up a good three to four inches. The tips of tulips appear interested in joining the fray. The Bradford Pear is losing the battle against the sun's warmth; its buds as fuzzy as the rabbits regularly venturing out of their underground caches. It's February and it's not.

Maybe February is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you'll get.

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VolumeVI Number 5
February 5-11, 1997
New Bay Times

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