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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Weaver

I Hate February

I hate February

Hate is a strong word, and it triggers many weak people, but it is the strongest and most appropriate word I can think of for this ailing, spavined, worm-ridden, inbred, gnarled excuse for a month.

There are, I will admit, a number of good things about February, although I am reasonably sure they were accidentally dropped in this uneven gaited, half-toothed wretch of a month. Several family members, both in blood and spirit, were born in February. I like Valentine’s Day. I like the fact that professional football finally goes off the television, and people can focus on preparing for the true American sport, baseball.

Overall, these few bright spots only serve to make this most wretched excuse of a month tolerable, and then it’s only barely tolerable.

February is generally too nasty for hunting, fishing or trapping. The fur is no good by February, anyway; there aren’t enough quail left to responsibly hunt, and rabbits are getting pregnant with next year’s kits; my beloved catfish are wisely ensconced in the deep water.

February is often a muddy, mangled mess, with cold, insouciant rains that do little more than kill the soul, turn my pastures into a miasma and wash away the winter seeds. Even if I could easily saddle either my horse or my donkey, their coats are thick with protective winter hair, which could rub under the saddle, leading to sores that are as irritating as – February.

February is the byproduct of a stinking, rutting buck goat on a bad trip from eating azaleas who still needs his hooves trimmed and a shot of worm medicine shoved down his throat.

February is like the oil left on your fingers after shaking hands with a particularly greasy politician.

I loathe February.

February is the redundant, repulsive, revolting, rotting, repugnant, refuse pile of all the days left at the end of the year, most of which no one wanted. February is sour skunk musk and asafetida mixed with toxic waste from the plant where they make canned liver. February is the drunk uncle who sneezes over the chicken pastry at the family reunion.

In case you couldn’t tell, I dislike February. Heartily so.

Some people groups chose February as the month to leave unwanted elderly relatives out in the snow for the wolves. In their own way, I guess they weren’t that different from how a lot of health insurance companies are now, except now we pay the wolves.

February (the second full moon of the year) had some charming names among Native Americans. The Starving Moon, for instance. The Snow Moon – and while I love snow, you know the effect even a single flake has on most Southerners.

Sadly, snow is rarely a factor in February. Oh, it will be cold and wet, but there’s a better than average chance that we will see sleet, ice and freezing rain long before the first snowflake considers falling, then instead takes a right turn for the mountains. Instead, we will get cold, miserable rain that occasionally freezes, since the temperature will hover between freezing and not freezing with all the usual indecision of the month of February.

So what do we get? We get mud.

Not fun, thick, warm summertime mud, but the cold, half-frozen, mud of misery. I despise February.

February is an odious, obnoxious, offensive, onerous, okra-headed, ornery, pit of obfuscation from whence there is no escape and no relief, just days of excruciating pain reminiscent of a broken tooth. February is so cloying and weak that it cannot even decide whether to have 28 or 29 days, whether it is a prelude to spring or the rerun of the worst parts of winter.

February is evil.

Seriously, February is evil. If you think about it, we’ll have three or four warm days, and everything starts budding. The spring peepers begin their magical songs. The anole lizards come out of hiding. The turtles sigh and sun themselves on handy logs. Everyone begins smiling again, and there seems to be hope.

Then February cackles maniacally, and the temperatures drop within hours. The poor frogs freeze. The turtles are cold shocked. I don’t know where the lizards go, but everything that had budded out in anticipation of spring gets slapped back down and frostbitten.

How rude is it to freeze the poor, unsuspecting frogs? They never hurt anybody.

But February doesn’t care. February hates frogs.

And I hate February.

It was on a February day that I lost my girlfriend before work, got fired when I got to work (early, at that), and got in two wrecks in five miles. When I got home that day, one of my dogs had gotten into the trash, then thrown up on my last set of clean sheets and my only blanket. That particular day pretty much summed up February.

February is like a garbage bag of limp asparagus, rotten pork rinds, tepid diet soda, stale dollar store knockoff cookies, and forgotten shrimp from last summer – and that bag is scattered across your driveway beside the mailbox. It reeks of revulsion and repugnance, yet there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it except to try desperately to survive.

But February gives way to March, a month of promise.

The daffodils and jonquils will rear their heads in defiance to the cold torment. The rabbits will dance in the moonlight, fighting for dominance or to impress a mate. The first of our chicks will peep and cheap and chip their way out of the eggs zealously guarded by a nervous hen. Our geese nested late this year, so any new goslings will make their downy debut in March. Careless and Reckless should pop around that time as well, so baby goats will once again gambol and bounce their way shakily across the pasture, which by then might have dried out enough for the remaining seed to sprout rich and green.

Toni the dog will want to spend more time outside soaking the sun into her old bones than zealously guarding her chair. Later in March, the mama possums will chuckle about their business, their backs covered in baretailed, beady eyed babies hanging on for dear life.

Our mama squirrels will become more nervous than ever, as the first kits of the year are born and begin skittering blind around the nests in the tulip poplar and oak. They have good reason to be nervous, since I am confident our resident redtailed hawks will actually have fledglings this year, and somebody in our lonely hearts club of owls will find a proper mate to occupy the lightning scarred longleaf down in the hollow.

My beloved catfish will once again rise, and hopefully there will be enough of a spring freshet to clean out the rivers and isolate the wild hogs.

Yes, March is a month of promise – but it is four millennia away. First we must get through the misery of February, a month I will hate most with a passion, at least until August.

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