“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.” –Shirley Jackson
February is not letting up on winter. On our drive home Sunday, from Sun Valley, we were turned back, on three different routes, because of avalanches blocking the road, or because of the threat of an avalanche. We had to make a big circle to the south, finally entering Montana on Interstate 15, 350 miles southeast of home. The 7.5 hour journey turned into a 13 hour journey, as we back-tracked several times throughout the day, trying to get out of Idaho. Back at home, a foot of snow had fallen over the layers of ice on our road, and we safely slide down in the darkness, grateful to arrive before the next round of forecasted snow and blizzard conditions was set to arrive.
There have been years in the past, when we’ve returned from the annual ski race in Sun Valley on February’s first week-end, in which I’ve declared to myself that I’m quitting on winter. With all the new light in the sky, I’ve taken down the white lights on the outdoor trees, removed the lighted garland on the mantle, put away my skis, and bought new house plants. It’s always premature, but, this year, it feels way too early. Even though we are struggling through week three of the new president, we’ve only completed week one of the new month. I’d best pick my battles.
After 20 inches of new snow yesterday, late in the afternoon, the sun came out. I trudged down to water’s edge through snowpack that came over the top of my tall Sorel boots. I couldn’t believe it when the kitties followed behind me. They have not given up ‘wistful recollecting’ of summer days and keep waiting for cocktails on the dock. It feels a long ways away on a snowbound day in February. Better to notice the soft curves of the fresh snow in the sunshine, and just take solace in the old English quote, “If February give much snow, a fine summer it doth foreshow.”