February is my least favorite month of the year in Colorado. It may be the shortest month of the year but it seems the longest. Most years, we get little snow during February and the ground is brown and barren. Usually the first crocuses start coming up toward the end of the month, but this year the unusually large amount of snow we received in December and January has apparently dampened their enthusiasm for emerging from the ground. At the cabin, the three feet of snow from December remains in the front yard, but by now it’s crusted over, tough snow that will take a whole lot of sunshine and melting to get rid of. It will be a long time before the husks of last year’s wild iris (below) flower again.
Everything seems blah, ugly, worn out, and in need of some new energy. It feels like the world is stuck someplace between winter and spring, like being in neutral gear, unable to move forward or backward.
In my daily meditations, I make a special effort to be aware of my surroundings, but it’s hard right now because my mind wants to float off to someplace like San Diego, which is where I was two weeks ago and where flowers are blooming and the hillsides are green. So it’s a challenge for me to stay present when I long for some escape from what seems like a dreary landscape.
Last winter, I came up to the cabin for a two-day stay. It was a gray day, with sullen and droopy skies, the ground devoid of any life. Everything seemed desolate, and I wanted to turn around and go home, where I could block out the grayness, lose myself in the computer or put on some music that would hide the ugliness. At the cabin, I have no music, can’t get on the Internet, and there’s no place to hide in my cabin, which consists basically of three rooms. The world is right there, maybe too present. But to go home would be admitting some kind of defeat, so instead I sat down and meditated. I breathed in the grayness of the day and the clouds that hung low until I reached some kind of acceptance, stopped placing judgment on it. My mood changed, as if I reached some kind of equilibrium between myself and the world.
That’s what February requires: an acceptance. Everything is just what it is, and I can only think that there’s comfort and peace in being aligned with the world, even if it’s not the way I want it to be.