February is gone!! It has taken me a couple of weeks for it to sink in but it is surely done with and I am glad..glad..glad..
A North Missouri February is not to be taken lightly.
The year 2000 when I wrote this was typical.
Three days into the month the ground is spongy..smelling of thaw and oozing with the excitement of spring.
Surprise!! That night the temperature drops to zero! With berserk winds!!
February 15th is glorious and sunny..We walk the yard, smugly marking each green daffodil shoot...each purplish spade-shaped tulip leaf. We are so confident.. We have sown in the fall...soon we will enjoy the blooms of spring..
Surprise!!! That night the temperature drops to nine below zero. With berserk winds.
February 21st is a day passed in mourning..nothing exraordinary..just gray and gloomy and drizzly cold. Hopes of spring are gone...half-heartedly we sow a little grass seed...toss a little hay onto a bare spot..the day is cold and lifeless.
The drizzle, met by a night of 10 degree temperatures, turns to murderous ice. Trees snap with the sound of rifle shots. Cows, heavily burdened with calf, slip and struggle through ice fields.
All weak creatures that survived a hard January sink to their knees in these last days of winter. For those who listen, the night is filled with the sound of predators closing in on prey delivered up to them on plates of ice.
But somewhere within those days of despair and false hope a secret majesty erupts and the land is released.
I have never been able to exactly pinpoint the day or time this happens..but in North Missouri it happens in February. Slowly and wistfully spring comes. It does not come easily. Winter is jealous and for every day that is sweet and sunny there are nights that reach out with killing fingers and shake and destroy with their freezing.
But spring begins in February..it cannot not begin...and it begins in February.