Not really an ode…I’m not a poet…some would say I’m not even a writer…but that may just be my depression kicking in…or not.
Too many days of long dark nights, cold and crisp, with the stars twinkling brightly…clear as a bell…seeming so close you might touch them. Too many days with the sun low in the Southern sky…if it can be seen at all due to the gray days full of winter rains.
I’ll take short summer nights, hot and humid, with the stars obscured by the mosquitos in the air…a thunderstorm rumbling in the distance. That was almost poetic.
February gives me hope…I know it is cold and crisp this morning and a polar vortex has the mid-west in its deadly, skeletal grip…but there is hope…here in the foothill of the Blue Ridge. Long range I see afternoon temperatures in the upper sixties. A chance of the low seventies? “Hope along Sweet February hope along.”
If previous winters teach us anything, there will be plenty of cold crisp days in February but there will be many “Chamber of Commerce” days too. Days to live for…sandwiched around days of “I wish I were dead”. Just enough bright and warm days to keep me alive until late spring.
Soon the cyclist will come out of their winter cocoons, dressed in the newest, natty attire, mimicking colorful butterflies…sorry butterflies, I know you would not dress like you were on an LSD trip on purpose. Golfers will don their own form of garish fashion and head to the links in hopes of breaking one hundred. Lines of bass boats in gaudy metal flake will make the trek toward Lakes Keowee, Jocassee or Hartwell, searching for trophy bass.
All will converge on Highway 11, joining pulpwood trucks and farm tractors, creating a slow parade in front of my house. A parade I will watch from the comfort of my garden. Maybe I will put on a flowery Hawaiian shirt in gaudy honor of the colors I see slowly passing my home.
My garden has laid fallow since the first frost…way back in late October. February will give me hope. Tilling and amending, the smell of cow poop in the air. Dirty fingernails from digging in the dirt, with sweat pouring down my nose. The aching knees and muscles of time well spent. Hopefully, the effort will lead to sweet and tart Cherokee Purple tomatoes dressed in Duke’s Mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, served between two pieces of Sunbeam Bread. An ear of corn on the cob, or five, on the side…if I can beat the raccoons to it this year.
February makes me hopeful…hopeful that I will flower like the early spring jonquils and crocus. There will be plenty of “Oh, damn you cold” days in February…and then there are the winds of March on days seemingly left over from January. But…there is hope and where there is hope, there IS life.
The image is from Deb’s Garden, http://debsgarden.squarespace.com/journal/2016/2/28/early-spring-conquering-weeds.html
Books and further musings from Don Miller can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM