I drive to work as the sun is coming up. I declare that the sun rising over a field of winter wheat is as beautiful as anything. Usually, the wheat fields are edged with woodland trees. The sun rays break through the bare trees, making slanted streaks of light for a short while. By the time I get to school, the last field is bathed in morning sunshine. Winter wheat is the greenest thing about winter , and it will make your heart glad to see it. A man plants with hope, when he plants a field.
There is a patch of woods at the school, that runs along the back of the building where I teach. This morning, they were full of blackbirds. The song coming from those woods was loud and joyful. The soft sunlight behind the more than “four and twenty blackbirds” in the winter trees, seemed to make a live painting. When I said “good morning” to everybody, today, I meant it.
The wind has blown all day. Children love wind, I have noticed. I do not mind a friendly wind either, unless I am hanging sheets on the line. I remind myself, that the same wind that tears the sheets from the line, also scatters the seeds of the sky- blue ageratum and the delicate Queen Annes’ Lace.
On the way home from work, I passed the quiet fields again. One was full of robins and what a lovely picture it made. Robins winter here, but they remind me of spring, anyway. I thought of Oliver Hertfords’ line, “We are nearer to Spring than we were in September.”
I started supper as soon I got home. I have been anxiously awaiting an attempt at Jo Dees’ recipe for barbecued chicken. Jo Dee follows all sorts of rules when she cooks. Try as I might, I can not even measure simple things like salt. The measuring spoons are too far in the back of the drawer or missing altogether. Maybe they ran off with the neglected measuring cup. Jo Dees’ devotion to instructions shows up in her chicken. She cooked it for Rae and I a few weeks back, and it truly was the best I have ever eaten. Jo Dee calls it “Indoor Outdoor Chicken”. I think the name is fitting, as I would certainly eat it on a back porch, without any objections.
While the chicken was cooking, I decided to go out and clear a path to the back door. Sycamore branches were starting to make the steps from the car to the house, a complicated affair. While gathering the branches, I noticed the “magic lilies” were up. February is not the time for magic lilies, nor daffodils nor foxglove, but they all seem convinced otherwise. I have not seen such circumstances, in the decade I have lived here. For all I know, February may have sufficient grace and the “early birds” may bloom, in spite of their haste. Seasoned gardeners know better than to “jump to conclusions” yet, it is quite disheartening, when I consider a spring without the foxglove.
I love February, and will cut the biscuits in heart shapes this month. I will make silly valentines for my grown up children and buy candy in red and pink foils. Kyle will have surprises in his lunchbox and “the crew” will laugh, but will be glad that I have sent them cookies too.
February is not just the month before March. It is the time of blackbirds flying and winter wheat growing. Sunlight falls tenderly now in places that in a fortnight, shade won’t allow . It is the last of long winter nights, when the stars come out early and shine brightly. I do not have to put great effort in gathering the boys from the fields and woods when supper is on the table, in February- and we tend to eat earlier. It is the perfect time to make a red velvet cake- and to write love notes. February is really a generous month- and we ought to love it too.