I often feel like January is a recovery month – it takes 31 days to catch up on the sleep I lose on New Year’s Eve, and I’m often busy trying new resolutions to improve my diet, exercise, career, housekeeping and writing practices, which in turn, leads to recovering from too much fiber, muscle strain, brain strain, dust allergies and . . . and luckily, no adverse effects from the writing.
February is full of fun little days that have produced big stories. February 2 is Groundhog Day, the day a small mammal predicts the weather and future happiness. I’ve discussed the movie Groundhog Day a couple of times on the blog, as a metaphor for re-writing, and a meditation about how a wretched character (Phil, the weatherman) re-invents himself as a being worthy of loving and capable of love.
February 3 is Setsubun, the Japanese holiday about driving out demons called oni and generally getting rid of what doesn’t serve you. The tradition is that you throw beans while yelling, “Demons out! Good luck in!” Then you pick up all the beans, and eat as many beans as your years on earth. Side bonus: the wise demon-exorcist will vacuum all the corners of the house so the beans don’t get dusty. The wily Hokkaido pioneer will use peanuts in the shell to avoid health and sanitation problems. What demons would you drive out of your writing practice? What luck would you invite in?
February 14 is a perfect time to hatch a love story. Or a Galentine’s Day story of friendship! (See Parks and Recreations for the lovely tales of friendship and overachievement and acceptance.) (Officially, this is the day before Valentine’s Day, but treat yo’ self! Make it two days this year! We’ve got a spare day, after all.) Tradition has room for all sorts of stories on this day – lovely romance, second chances, and even vinegar Valentines and tales of revenge.
And this year, we get to enjoy the once-in-four-years event of February 29th. This was a day when women could propose to men in Europe, or receive a gown, some money or 12 pairs of gloves for their trouble. It’s a day about bringing things back into balance, about bonus time and extra duties.
Then the next day is March – the month when the northern hemisphere starts to green and grow, and the southern hemisphere enjoys the days of harvest and gradual cooling days.
Even at 29 days, February is still the shortest month, so let’s make it count!