"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within."
William C Bryant
February is the second month of our Gregorian calendar and stuck between January with its new year festivities and March with its ushering in Spring. It is officially the last month of winter and you start to see the signs of things warming up a little and the snowdrops peeking their way through the countryside. It was the last month of the ancient Roman calendar and that actually feels a little more appropriate. The Romans named it, in the late 14th century, Latin februarius mensis "month of purification," from february "to purify,". But the old english name for it was solmonað, which is said to mean "mud month."
It is undoubtedly a month of mud, especially in the Uk where only a few places get really cold anymore. Snow is infrequent and a persistent damp drizzle is the main weather highlight. Most people are not a fan of February for this reason. I think also the lack of light starts to get to people. Gardeners on the other hand love the end of the month as it's when the ground starts coming back to life.
I for one am going to try and go with the Roman idea this year, a month of cleansing, setting up, getting ready. A time to maybe get out in the mud, stick hands into the dirt and see what they bring up, before washing everything else away. A pre-spring clean. I have a list of things I would like to clarify and distill this month which I am excited about, and I feel it’s almost that feeling of contentment that comes from de-cluttering space and mind that is important to work through this month.
And just to end this on the right note, the Anglo-Saxons called this month “sol-monath” or literally Cake-month. Now I’m pretty sure that was to do with some religious ritual, but I just like the idea of eating lots of cake. Whatever gets you through.