Oh February

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I can feel the return of the light. The sun arcs higher in the sky, and races in windows, spreading across rooms like a blanket thinner than air, sweet and clean and joyful. It slides in golden pools all afternoon, enticing us all to rush forth into it. But the light is cold; you can barely feel its touch on your skin. It’s still too far away to be more than a bright vision in the afternoon. In a glorious distraction of gold and rose on the mountaintops, the light slips away. We are left to wander home in the dark, with wind prickling ears and fingers. The windows of houses at night are like warm chasms spilling light to their edges.

There is such yearning, hoping, reaching at this time of year. Such impatient anticipation of the unknown, a terrified hunger for the year to come, at once wide open and clutching tight. A sense of vast potential anchored by cold nights and icy sidewalks. Buds are knobbling naked branches, but still holding everything inside for longer days.

Emptiness is at odds with collected clutter and vying for my thoughts. Each year at this time, I question urgently the distance between doing what I love and this working, treading water. With the season also come urges to start fresh with a small suitcase and a clear mind in a new city. Some years, I let go of everything that I knew and that held me back, and move. Other times, I do my best to stay put and let restlessness pass through me. Spring is like a strong wind, demanding change. It cracks open resistance and scatters it, leveling out ruts and encouraging new pathways.

Oh February, all ice and cold and fragile hope. Once this wild, reckless beauty has blown all over and woken all of us indoors and underground to stirring, then comes the calm of mild days and little flowers cupping the early warmth.

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