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February Doldrums, Not!

John celebrates his birthday in February, as do I. And then we also have the valentine holiday in between.

Earlier today, he told me what he wanted for his birthday, which is today. He would like for us both to stand outside on the stoop of my study/office/sun porch and face his Little House Studio. Then I am to sing “Happy birthday” to him. I like the idea, but believe I will wait until the neighbors are off to work.

In his play, Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare asks the question,

“Why, what’s the matter, That you have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?”

Yes, it is another February day, but it isn’t cloudy or cold! The weatherman is calling for our third day of temps in the 70’s. What a wonder and blessing!

William James said, “The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.”

The daffodils in my yard would agree, since they are half out of the ground. They obviously don’t know that it is only February 7. And one of the forsythia bushes has one, bright, yellow bloom. New growth on bushes and blooms on some of our neighborhood trees also are in agreement.

Image result for photo of daffodils flower

So what about Groundhog Day this year? Punxsutawney Phil could not find his shadow only five days ago. And as the legend goes, this means we’re in for an early spring.

This animal oracle was officially named in 1887 by a group of groundhog hunters, and next year this prognosticator still celebrates years of hits-and-misses.

A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil after he did not see his shadow Saturday on Groundhog Day.

Believe it or not, Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day. The clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for the winter. These candles were always long, and many, because expectations were clear for a cold winter.

This Christian holiday is celebrated annually, mainly in Catholic and Church of England congregations, on February 2. It celebrates three occasions: the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple, and the Virgin Mary’s purification. There is emphasis on Jesus being the light of the world, and so the candles become important.

Image result for candlemas day

Germans pushed this thought a bit further by selecting a hedgehog for predicting the weather. When German settlers came to America, they continued the tradition, except they switched to the groundhog predictions, which were more plentiful than hedgehogs.

Anne Lamott said, “I am going to notice the lights of the earth, the sun and the moon and the stars, the lights of our candles as we march, the lights with which spring teases us, the light that is already present.”

Image result for sunrise photo

One children’s song has the refrain,”This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Seems like Mister Rogers believed in spreading light, because it was always a “beautiful day in the neighborhood.” So shall we choose light today? And shall we share light?

Image result for sunrise photo

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Winds of March and Memory

The word March comes from the word, “Martius” that was originally the first month of the Roman calendar, named after Mars, the god of war. (The new year was changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.) March was the season of agriculture and war.

The Anglo-Saxons called the month “hlyd monath,” which means stormy month or “hraed monath” which translates rugged month.

Many years ago in my sixth grade class, our teacher selected a poem for us to memorize each month. We had to go to the front of the class to recite it. Looking back, I am not sure whether the worst part was the memorization or the standing. As I remember, we all survived the discipline of this recitation.

One of my favorite poems was I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by the English poet, William Wordsworth. The first verse is still in my memory bank.

Yesterday, the second bunch of daffodils landed in a jar on my kitchen table, and their spring smells overpowered everything else. These flowers are one of the first tastes of spring in my yard, and they take over the beds. Though the crocuses and hyacinths also have bloomed, their statement is quieter. Daffodils explode.

The daffodils in my yard came from the yard in my first home. They were planted under three white dogwood trees there. When my folks sold the house, I transplanted some of the bulbs. As they have multiplied, they are now in three beds and not one. These sturdy flowers dance with the winds and smile in the rain

Perhaps we should take lessons from the daffodils and choose dancing and smiling.

Blooming daffodils in spring park - csp1416904

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

March Events:

March 5: War of 1812 State Meeting in Columbia, SC
March 6: Walnut Grove Plantation Reenactment
March 17-19: SCDAR State Conference