February: The Longest Month of the Year

By | February 1, 2018
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February: The Longest Month of the Year

To me, February is the worst month of the year and here we are again… the first day of February.

Though February is the shortest month, it seems like the longest month to me. February this year, like most years, has twenty-eight days. By the time it is over, it will seem like sixty-two days; at least to those of us who live in the Northern part of the United States. Here spring begins on March 21st, according to the calendar, but it doesn’t really begin until sometime in late April…and in some years, not until mid-May.

When spring doesn’t begin until mid-May and winter starts creeping in around mid-October, it doesn’t leave much time for summer.

February is a cruel. cold, cloudy month. It is the mean, odious step-mother of months. It leads us into March – when spring is supposed to begin. But, March is nothing if not a big tease. The calendar says spring begins on March 21. But spring does not begin in March. At least it does not begin in March in my little town. Come visit us here in the Great Lakes region in March. Bring your long-johns, your raincoats, and your goulashes – you’re going to need them. What you won’t need are sunglasses, flip-flops, or short-sleeved shirts. Spring in March? Humbug!

February, where I live, is a month of wall-to-wall clouds. A month of  damp, cold, air, snow, rain, sleet, and ice. February is a month of horrible, cold, dark, ugly weather. Yet looking at a calendar Spring seems so close – but it’s only a tease. We have sixty-two days of February to get through. Each day a slog through snow, mush, ice, and mud under never-ending  horizon-to-horizon gray skies.

Don’t get me wrong, I like winter – the first two months of it. But I really don’t enjoy February. The best thing we have going for us in February around here, is waiting for the world’s largest rat, in some little town in Pennsylvania, to tell us all how many more weeks of winter we have left. I don’t need a big rat to tell me. I already know. Here’s my prediction: We have at least ten more weeks of winter left to go. Now you’re all thinking I’m the big rat, aren’t you?

If you do live in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, I’m sure you’ll empathize with me. If you live in Australia, New Zealand, or some place else in the southern hemisphere, bear with me. I want all of you living in the southern hemisphere to know I empathize with you – because you’ve got problems with February too, even though you may not know it.

Did you ever stop to think that you’ve actually been cheated out of three days of summer, because February falls during your summer. At least our last full month of summer in the northern hemisphere has 31 days. Whereas yours only has 28 (except, of course, during leap years). All those of you Downunder must relish leap years; because leap years add another day to your summer. But, I hate leap years. They make February sixty-three days long instead ofsixty-two.

February does have some bright spots – if you work for the government, schools, or banks. Because if you’re one of those lucky souls, you probably love February; even despite the fact that the sun never shines and the deep, damp, February cold pervades every membrane of your body. You lucky people get yet another day off in February. Presidents’ Day is a holiday for you. Not for the rest of us poor working stiffs, but for the lucky few there’s a holiday in February for you.

And, while it might be called Presidents’ Day, I have never yet met anyone who sits around and ponders the good deeds, heroics or exploits of George or Abraham on that day. I’ll bet that most of you who work for the government, schools, or banks, will be eagerly thumbing through newspapers looking for Presidents’ Day Sales. Isn’t that true? Of course it is. I’ll bet that not too many of you who are off that day will spend it cogitating and pontificating about the great American presidents or attending ceremonies honoring them. It looks like furniture stores and giant retailers win – while poor old George and Abraham once again are relegated to the role of excuses for days off and even more “sales”.

Some of you, mostly female I imagine, find another notoriously bright spot stuck smack dab in the middle of February. It’s called “Valentine’s Day”. It’s supposed to be a day of romance, but, in my cynical mind, it’s a way for Hallmark, American Greetings, and other purveyors of cardboard poetry to make oodles of wampum. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year. This makes Valentine’s Day the second biggest “card-sending” holiday of the year – right behind Christmas with 2.6 billion cards sent. 85% of all Valentine’s Day cards are sent by women

And then, of course, the candy, candles, “romantic items” and other Valentine’s Day goodies that fill store shelves from the day after Christmas through the 14th of February. Sigh. To my mind, the Valentine’s Day ruse is a marketers dream come true. Money, not “romance” is the engine that drives Valentine’s Day. Am I too cynical? Maybe. But then again, I have my reasons.

Whenever I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of myself as a fifth grader. I was not being very attractive or popular. I was a fat kid. I was certainly no Beau Brummel. My mom had just died a few months earlier and I desperately needed attention. Even more than most ten year-olds. I began (pathetically) hoping that the girls in my would feel sorry for me and send me a Valentine’s day card. Isn’t that sad? Pitiable even. Of course, not many of the girls did. I recall a song by Janis Ian called “At Seventeen” and one of the lines in that song is “For those of us who knew the pain, of Valentines that never came…”.

And, in case you think I’m somehow anti-romantic or picking on women here, I’m not. One of the worst things every foisted upon the world in February is the “Super Bowl”. Here we have a football game interrupted by five-minute-long commercials, a one-hour halftime, and ridiculous three-minute “TV timeouts”. If I were a football coach I wouldn’t even want to play in this media circus. It’s a game between two teams that have probably played before – and no one took notice. It’s a game that is covered relentlessly by the media for weeks. A game that is more hype than contest, more glitter than substance, more smoke than fire. Most of us cannot even recall who won the Super Bowl last year. And, all the beautiful people will be in attendance. If you’re somebody, anybody at all, you’re required to make an appearance at “The Super Bowl” to prove you’re somebody. Isn’t the Super Bowl the height of American superficiality?

I like football (especially college football) and I watch many games during the football season. I often look forward to relaxing on a Saturday afternoon watching college games. But, to me, the “Super Bowl” isn’t a football game. I don’t have a clue what it is. It’s a money maker for sure. Not just the game, but billions of dollars are bet on this silly game.  Will I  be the only person not watching the Super Bowl this year?

So, besides the interminably long string of sunless, damp, cold and dreary days that February dishes up; the tantalizing thought of spring on the distant horizon; and the continuation of a long, dark, dreary winter – I have other reasons to dislike the month of February. Its 62 days are neatly fitted into a calendar of 28 days. It’s slight of hand I tell you – black magic. February is a cruel joke played on me each year.

I try to accept things as they come; but I have a hard time accepting February. It’s the one month of the year that I despise – it has no redeeming qualities… except that it brings us one month closer to spring.

And, it’s just my luck that February has 62 days this year.

Think spring!

4 thoughts on “February: The Longest Month of the Year

  1. Maggie

    Ha ha ha T.C who perhaps exited from the wrong side of the bed this morning . Life is life I guess and we take what comes and yes February can be a little misleading. But look on the bright side as you are now the lucky one gearing up for your Spring/Summer while we
    down under are gearing up for our Winter g r r r r r not a good thought at all. We have just had a rather harsh February, scrub fires, droughts and then to cap it off we have just had a horrible storm. Affecting the South Island more than the North Island but having to clean up such a mess on the brink of Winter very demoralising and heart breaking. You mentioned that your Winter goes into May on occasions. The last two years for us has been the opposite our Summer has gone mildly into Winter which seems to have made the Winter months shorter although obviously it has also made Winter feel a lot harsher. I guess we take what comes as we have no control lover the elements but trying to look on the bright side each season brings it’s own beauty one way or another. We do not get the snow coverage that you get but sometimes we do get harsh frosts towards the Spring which in their own way are quite magical and beautiful. Trying to look on the bright side as Winter approaches there is beauty all around us if we just take the time to observe and enjoy what we he have and not what we have not. I do enjoy your essays so to speak as there always seems to be something to inwardly digest and think about. Wish you and yours a great day and yes for you Spring is just around the corner for us well we will not go there until it happens. B r r r r r r r r
    Maggie. (N.Z.)

    Reply
  2. Jim Hardesty

    It will be in the 70’s here in the Phoenix area. So it will seem like spring here (at least until May).

    Reply
  3. Jon in Oz

    Wonderful Queensland in Australia, in Winter shorts and T-shirts during most days.
    Brisbane’s weather in winter is generally dry and mild with mean temperatures between 11 – 21°C (51.8 – 69.8°F). Early mornings and nights can be crisp, but overnight lows rarely drop below 9°C (48.2°F).
    During summer, average temperatures range from 21 – 29.8°C (69.8 – 85.6°F) and the city has its highest rainfall, which can bring thunderstorms and occasional floods.
    Average rainfall during this time is 426.6 mm (16.8″), although when the clouds disappear the humidity can be as high as 100% …. not suitable for some people and me, I would rather be in New Zealand, all is not perfect here either TC …. brisk, cool weather for me, heat and humidity is energy-sapping and brain draining.
    Never is there a BRRRRRRRRRRRR to be heard around this ‘neck of the woods’.

    Thank You.

    Jon back in Oz.

    Reply
  4. Karen L

    Living in MN I can tell you that this is just plain hogwash. January is always the longest month and historically the cloudiest month of the year. I celebrate the end of January and look forward to February, the shortest month of the year…And the days really start to get longer so more daylight – Yippy Skippy. I love more daylight. And, yes, March can sometimes be a downer with its penchant for blizzards, especially when Tournament Time begins. But the snow doesn’t last long in March. And, if we are lucky and escape the end of March like a lamb, the remaining snow can be left for the girls to clean up – you know – April, May and June. January, to me, is like 62 days long – never ending cloudy days, freezing temps, snow, sleet and ice. The only people around here who like January are the ice fishermen (and they have luxiourous ice houses that are heated with all the amenities like refrigerators, stoves, couches, TVs etc.), Skiers, and Snow Mobilers. No thank you – I will take February any day over January….:)!

    Reply

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