Monday, February 20, 2017

It's time to make a pact

You could say that February has been a minor bete noire in my writing - both in the blog and in the books.

For example....

'February that year was muddier and greyer and more miserable than usual'
But I Told you Last Year That I Loved You

'February's always grey and cold. You look out of the window feeling desperate for fresh air, and then you look up at the leaden sky and change your mind.'
Zuzu's Petals

'The price is February. The grey days, the looming mists, the dripping rain, the faded grass, the inescapable mud and the long dark nights: I hate them all.'
Plotting for Beginners

'Talking in bed circa 3 a.m…
Me (surfacing from sleep, quasi-drugged): “Kit, Kit, Wendy wants me to go on a Senior Citizen day trip to Iceland with her, all inclusive for £10, with a good lunch. Do you think I should go?”
Kit (as if I am not talking gibberish): “What date is it?”
Me:  “9th of Feb.”               
Kit:  “Definitely go.”
Me:  “Why definitely?”
Kit:  “It’s a vile month, so you should do something to take your mind off it.”

This man is perfect for me: 
a/ he takes my dreams seriously
b/ he appreciates the horror that is February.'
Plotting for Grown-ups

And then last year on the blog it changed (February 8th 2016):

'This year, despite the execrable weather, I feel differently. I keep thinking back to this time last year, when Mary was dying. This year the thought constantly running through my head like one of those banner headlines under a newscaster is: "No February could ever be as bad as last year's February." And the next thing I think is: "I am still here, still alive. Mary isn't. I am lucky. I get to see another spring, I get to talk to my kids and laugh with my grandkids, and hear that 3 year old Cecilia said on the day of the Superbowl "I would like to be a Broncos player when I grow up but I more want to do fossils," I get to talk and laugh with Mary's kids, I get to sit in the sun and play my sax and share things with my friends and cycle up the Monsal Trail, and laugh at the hilarious things Dave says, and so on and so on.'

I have felt differently this year too, except last week, missing Mary, I sank back into the old ways and I tweeted:
"February is a very trying month."
Several people agreed, but Roopa Banerjee tweeted: 
"I like the hidden hope in February. The gradually lengthening day, the daffodils, the slight lifting of gloom."

And I decided that the lengthening days are what I am going to concentrate on in future. Because it is pretty wonderful when it gets past 5 o' clock and it's still light enough to see the snowdrops.

The other thing is what I say in the para above from my blog last year..."I am still here, still alive."

...which ties in with what I said last week -
"60 and 70 year olds don't care what they look like when they're dancing: they want to enjoy themselves. Next week they might be seriously ill, they might be dead." 

...which ties in with a quote from the Quakers' Advices and Queries no 30. which used to puzzle me until last year -
"Accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully."

The years of active life I have left are numbered, and I am feeling that, rather than just knowing it intellectually. And to dismiss every February as a month to be tolerated, is dismissing a twelfth of what I have left. 

So today I am making a pact with February, as Ezra Pound did with Walt Whitman:

I make a pact with you, Walt Whitman - 
I have detested you long enough.
I come to you as a grown child
Who has had a pig-headed father;
I am old enough now to make friends.

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