Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Loving February?

Sometimes we need friends to remind us of the beauty that is all around us.

Well, at least I do.  Despite my best efforts to notice all the gifts of each season this year, I found myself pretty stalled on finding any more nice things to say about winter as I turned the calendar to February a few days ago.  Sigh.  Another month of Winter with a capital W.  We like to joke on Groundhog's Day, that in Minnesota there are always six more weeks of winter...six more weeks than anyone else, that is.  Shivering by the cold glass, and looking at the white sky, white ground, white world out my window–I found myself thinking that the most positive thing to say about this time of year is that it makes us long for Spring.  I even wrote about it.  A dear friend added an encouraging comment on that post, and near the end just happened to ask, "Well, don't you love February?  I really do."

That made me think.

Do I love February?  Love February.  February?  I decided to try.  I shared with some friends that I decided to try, with some delightful results.  Soon I realized that once again I had been so caught up in noticing the things I was expecting to see, that I had missed the actual gifts all around me, waiting to be admired and enjoyed.

For the encouragement (and perhaps amusement) of those who were not in on that conversation, I'm going to share the List of the Merits of February that my dear friend easily listed off to help my attempts at February appreciation. It has led to me giggling randomly throughout the day.  And smiling a (frozen) smile as I went out into the frigid sunshine this early morning. I even got a chance to convince a stranger that February is a wonderful time of year by sharing the List of Merits with her.

Here's how that conversation went:

There we were, standing, looking out at the parking lot through the glass. Each of us waiting to be picked up by someone who loves us enough to go out into the negative 15 degree windchill so we can enter a car that has warmed up to at least zero by the time they drive over to the door.  Her comment, echoed by thousands, even millions of people today, "Boy, I am so ready for Spring."

Smiling, I just couldn't help myself. "You know, I have a friend who loves February."

She turned to me,"Really? What does she like about it?"

"Well, she has a big list of things.  And she's convinced me, too. I decided to like February. It's a good list."

She was all ears, as I'm sure you are, too.

Here we go...and this was just off the top of my friend's head.

1) Valentine's Day!! ♥ ♥
2) While it's winter, it's WAY lighter earlier & later. This gets dramatically better all month & is really wonderful! 
3) Weirdly more powerful sun. Roads become generally blacktop, not white or icy. 
4) There is time to do winter things you meant to do but didn't–get a little one on skates, family ski/tube day, etc. 
5) Spring is so clearly coming! It is like the glorious START of coasting down a monster hill you just miserably biked up. 
6) The spring idea is there to enjoy, yet there is absolutely no pressure to actually do anything spring related. Relax & milk the"sit by fire in a blanket & read" season for all it is worth... 
6) On top of all this: One of my boys was born, plus, Sara & her sister, & some great presidents!

Later, she and others thought of more things to love (or consider loving) about February.  I even thought of a few things.

Variety! Snowstorms and Sunshine. Blizzards and More Sunshine. Puddles appear on sunny days, even if it's still quite cold. Wooden decks dry out in the sun. The best month for skiing. Opportunities for Contentment and Patience. The best snow of the year for snowballs, snowmen and forts.  The emptiest activity calendar page of the year, and snow days snuggled at home. And yes, the smell of Spring is on the breeze.

I'm really not joking that all this is a gift to me. Learning to love the beauty of a season where I had only seen bleak days before, will be a blessing year after year. 

I'm thankful for friends who help me see.

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