Tag Archives: seasons

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.

Easter and Change in the Air

My earliest memory of something atypical of Easter-cliche-happenings was in the year I would turn 8, 1981. It was Easter Sunday morning and my father, mother, brother, and I were gathered in the bright yellow sunroom for breakfast when the phone rang.

It was family back East. Seems my father’s father died that morning. I’d never met him. Phillip. But if he was my father’s father, well, he must’ve been a giant of a man, then.

We lived on opposite coasts of the world’s largest country back when air travel wasn’t exactly a bargain. But that was the summer — we were going back for almost the entire summer, spending it in Prince Edward Island for my mother’s parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and family reunion.

Two months too late to meet the last of my father’s parents.

Ever since, I’ve always found death and rebirth to be synonymous with Easter.

Winter rages, summer bites back. Seasons change. Lethargy bleeds out and enthusiasm rears up.

The romantic in me is enjoying the realization that such a major and untenable lifechange should come for me as Easter dawns.

I wish I could bottle and share this cauldron that bubbles inside me — a (in)toxic(ating) mix of excitement and fear, curiosity and dread, confusion and confidence. I have no idea what to make of it, how to pull it all apart.

It’s like my emotions are fighting like a carload of five-year-olds.

And this week coming up is filled with grey and cold and wind. A batten-your-hatches and clear-your-files sort of week filled with naps, short wet walks, pensive moments, and strategizing.

The weather gods apparently feel next weekend is a good time for Spring to begin her return engagement in the fair city of Vancouver, after peppering us with an ironic blast of late winter and snow after our “warmest Olympics ever” came to an end — and the city’s been in a freeze ever since.

From weather on down, change is coming every which way in my life. From my professional focus to my health attitudes to the time I have to focus on myself to my ability to be out in the world to my back account.

EVERYTHING changes here, now, this very week.

It’s not like this is some happy slow transition. No, dude. I’ve lost my job — I’ve gone from trying to juggle seems-like-60-hour weeks to juggling zilch, nada, zippo. My landscape of my life is like a vast stretch of prairie scrub. Goes for miles and miles and miles.

Its vast emptiness is paralleled only by the expanse of my savings account.

The life I had, overnight, is in cardiac arrest, sustained only by the faint hope that is the three-months-to-hire-me-back open-ended lay-off I’ve been handed. Aside from that?

Well, shit, son. Not every aspiring writer gets her bookwriting ducks in a row then gets her pink slip.*

My whole life’s kinda weird right now. I had a Mystery Mentor step out of the works on Twitter and give me very valuable advice for starting my book. I’m reading How to Write a Book Proposal by Larsen now. Very “start here” positioning when you have a good idea of how your book unfolds. As I’m beginning to.

But I’d been working toward this readying since December — figuring out plot and structure, style and voice, basic timeline. In my head, of course. But sometimes that’s a good start.

Life-wise, I was able to get just a few things in a row — not everything will unfold at once but instead it will unfold over the next few months, slowly making me able to sustain the kind of adversity I have to be ready to face if I’m to use this sudden shifting of worlds to my advantage.

All in all? Easter? What an exciting unexpected scary time for me.

Thank god I believe in myself and have an inkling that, despite this appearing to be “bad” luck, this may actually be the start of something wow for me.

WHAT, exactly, I don’t know.

But isn’t it fun?

Happy Easter, everyone. Save me some ham.**

And avoid the “death” part of Easter. It’s kinda lame. Ham’s better. Not for the pig. But, you know.

*Pink slips are blue, incidentally, in Canada. Get yer passport now. Yer missing the fuck out, people.

**You ever think the Christian tradition of ham at Easter is sort of an ironic slap at Judaism, which kinda started the whole Easter-ball rolling anyhow? I’m more a turkey girl.