February: Waking At The End of Winter

The song that inspired this posting is in the widget down below. Give it a listen and get a feel for where I’m coming from.

February.

My least-favourite month of the year. I’m not a winter person, least of all a February person.

This month reeks of death. From personal anniversaries through to roadside molding rotted leafy messes, some days, it’s all death for me.

That’s February, nature’s “darkest before dawn.”

But February also becomes birth. Snowdrops emerge from recent-frosted soils, crocuses poke up. Cherry blossoms begin their storming of Vancouver’s awakening streets.

It’s the dichotomy of life and death.

This morning I awoke with the “I don’t know how I’ll make it through the month” mentality that inevitably hits me right around now every year.

It’s like my soul grows and dies with the seasons. Come this time of year, all the fallen life leaves — and winter’s struggles — have decomposed enough that a mat covers all that’s inside of me. Finding joy and fun at this time of year, embracing humour and seeing the big picture, it just gets hard some days.

This year, not so bad. Still, below is the song by “The The” that epitomises how I experience February every year. I start off blue and pensive, thinking about my mother, whose cancer was found, whose life was given a “best-by” date, and whose birthday all fall in Valentine’s Week. It’s inevitable, I remember her every year.

Me and my friend were walking
In the cold light of mourning
Tears may blind the eyes but the soul is not deceived
In this world even winter ain’t what it seems

Then, the week ends, and I realise it wasn’t so bad. I realise I like to remember, that taking that time to remember is what will help me keep some small fragment of her alive, that the confusion of pain and acceptance I feel even now comes from how strong a relationship and connection we had, and how many questions I never got answers to.

And, like this song, “Love is Stronger than Death,” I get that it’s all part of the journey. We need these times of sadness to really know when to embrace joy, like a million philosophers and Sufi poets have said.

Here come the blue skies here comes springtime
When the rivers run high & the tears run dry
When everything that dies
Shall rise

Then, it’s the last week of February, and more of nature wakes, March is around the corner, the temperature’s rising… I feel like I’m breathing more, I’m stronger. Energy returns, curiosity piques, and smiles come easier.

It’s human nature, spring fever, waking from hibernation. I don’t know. The northern way, perhaps. But that last week of February, that’s about when my soul refills with everything I’ll need to get me through the frenetic, light-18-hours-a-day Canadian summer.

And this is the month. It’s everything — birth, remembrance, death, a tease of things to come. It’s a world of emotion every week. That’s February.

This song captures that. I’ve played it on a loop for a half hour. The slow, painful start, consciousness rising in the middle, then the exuberant determination in the end, when a groove begins to fall upon you, the listener. Like February moving into March. For me, anyhow.

Soon. Out there, I can smell its arrival. Air too fresh like that, always signals winter’s either comin’ or goin’. Yeah. I’m ready.

—-

I give you “The The,” the band name that stumped pirates before downloading was even a thing. Trivia about The The? Local alternative radio station, CKST, Coast 1040, had a very short on-air life in the early ’90s after fighting hard for air time, and the station came to life and died with their first and last songs ever played being “The The” tracks: the first being from the Mind Bomb album, the last from Dusk, Lonely Planet.