Light in February


first week of february - 1 (1)02.07.20

“Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.”  Willa Cather

The NOAA forecasters have been saying all week that they just don’t have confidence in their models.  Apparently, the atmospheric river, which we ordinarily get from the south or southwest, is coming from west-northwest.  For west of the Cascades, this means they are enduring a deluge of moisture, mudslides, flooding of local streams.  For us on the eastern side, forecasters are saying they don’t have enough experience with this condition to trust their models, so they are all over the place, using phrases like “as this event wears on” and “not every valley has behaved as anticipated.”  You can sense their frustration, and, like many of us, feel that by now in February, winter has become “old and sullen.”  In a separate paragraph of its own, they write this morning, “Sunday looks to be a pleasant weather day with more sunshine and seasonable temperatures.”

It sounds like they are looking for the bright side.  Perhaps, it seems this way to me because as I talk with friends and family about what has happened in our government and national psyche, we wonder where to find the light.  Like the unpredictabiliy in the current weather forecasting, we live in uncertain times.  February’s weather malaise has lined up with our social malaise, and with what often feels like an existential threat, in the midst of the coronavirus, rise of fascism, the destruction of our planet.  Sullen, indeed, and darn hard work somedays to find a bright side.

In looking for bright sides… Last Saturday, another microburst raged through the Flathead Valley, blocked our road with downed trees, and caused power outages to thousands.  There’s been a big local story all week concerning Hawkeye, a rough-legged hawk who had been hit by a car in 2014 and left blind in one eye, and little eyesight in the other.  Unable to be released into the wild, she has been cared for since then by Gabriel, a raptor rehabilitator (isn’t Gabriel one of those Archangels?).  Saturday’s raging winds knocked down Hawkeye’s enclosure and she flew away, with black jesses still tied to her legs.  There have been Missing Persons posters in the paper and on social media, and we’ve talked about her in my yoga class, with rumors of sightings near Russell School and other west side locations in Kalispell.  Every day I was in town this week, I’ve scanned the sky as I drive, looking for a hawk with black straps hanging from her legs.  Last night, just as I was going to bed, Robin texted me that Hawkeye had been found and was safe.  I watched the video this morning of Gabriel and the fireman crawling up a tall fire truck ladder into the tree top, and bring her down.   It was just a little story, but filled with light, in the dark of morning, next to the dark news stories brought to me by the internet.  But, I think we simply must be on the look-out for these beacons, wherever we can find them.  And, as luck would have it, I saw my first robin this morning.

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.
Anne Frank

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.”
Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux



2 thoughts on “Light in February

  1. Jay Coakley

    Time to bring out the easel, brushes and paints. A hawk or a robin would be a good creation in February. Creativity offers a chance to put things your way. In the meantime, the negative stuff will go by. Its interesting that your weather person said the same exact thing as weather woman Kathy Sabine said on Denver’s ch 9 today. She said she looked at all the models and decided that none of them offered any clarity.


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