Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | February 23, 2013

February Cycles

February may be the shortest month, but for me it tends to be the busiest.

It’s the month that my body and spirit recognizes as winter, the time of introspection, planning, critique.  I tend to plan out what I want to do for the spring while sitting under a blanket in my favorite sweatshirt and woolen socks.

It’s a time of contrasts.  There is the cold and dark, but the light is returning.  The holidays in this month also show this contrast.

February 2nd is Imbolc, also known as St. Brighid’s Day or Groundhog day, is a holiday that speaks of renewal, return of the light, cleansing, the knowledge that spring is coming.  Some years ago, we decided to celebrate it in this household.  Some years we have a big dinner of spicy or preserved foods, light a fire, and turn on every light in the house.  This year it was all we could manage to go out for Mexican food and then come home and turn on the lights and light candles.  Unfortunately, it was a spare the air night, so the fire was nixed. You have to remember that taking care of our environment is a true way of celebrating a holiday that has an Earth goddess as a focus!

Then there is Chinese New Year.  Usually you’re supposed to clean your house before it hits, you know, the spring cleaning binge that other people do a little later in the year.   This year…let’s just say that with the accumulative sleep deprivation, working full time, and such, that cleaning didn’t happen.  Luckily, Husby was a trooper and went to the local oriental market and bought a bunch of the new year’s sweets that we’re supposed to have on the table.  Then there is the New Year’s Eve cooking.  Hmmm…again, this year, not so much.  I did manage to get  Chinese greens, roasted pork, noodles and other symbolic food for our dinner, but again, it was all we could manage to hunker down and stay at home, not cut up a lot of food or do laundry.  (According to tradition, you’re not supposed to chop a lot of things or wash stuff because you could cut up  or wash away your luck for the new year. ) Then there are the three days of not going out and visiting people, just staying with the family: that we did, staying at home like hermits.  Unfortunately, Daughter won’t be with us.  She’s up at college and won’t be back until spring break at the end of March.  I think that is probably why this Chinese New Year has felt so “off”. Our little family is short a person.  But we did send her a care package with the traditional sweets dishes and mittens.  She said that when she got the package it was like “Chinese New Year in a box!”   Then there is the big family dinner at the end of the two week period.  Finally we’re doing something traditional.  Tonight we’ll be going to a Chinese restaurant and sharing a meal with family.

Valentine’s Day was also a part of the month, accompanied by all the Hallmark card and bad jewelry ads on tv.  It falls in the middle of the Chinese New Year.  Husby and I opted to have an exchange of gifts but waited to the weekend to go out and celebrate as part of a  President’s Day getaway.  It was a nice thing to take a couple of days and change our scenery.  We found a couple of little towns in Santa Cruz mountains to poke around in and ate really good meals.  We reminded each other that before we had Daughter, we always went on a little trip for this weekend.  So we started in Boulder Creek, visiting an organic farm and having a lovely brunch with our niece who is apprenticing there. We stopped in Ben Lomond, Felton, Scotts Valley, Capitola and Santa Cruz.  By the way, two recommendations for Santa Cruz: India Joze (  for darned good food in a casual setting and Donnelly Brothers Chocolates for blissfully wonderful chocolate (

Now the end of the month approaches.  I think of the garden needing clean up and planting.  The camelias and quince and lemon trees all need pruning.  (I got the roses done earlier in the month.)  I consider the knitting projects that are in progress and need to be finished before the cold weather gives way to warmer and longer days.  I eye my spinning wheel with the batch of variegated blue wool partially filling the bobbin and consider an evening in front of the fire treadling a couple of hours away.  I glance at the home decor magazine and wonder if a spring cleaning and a coat of paint may be in my near future.  And it’s amusing that these things are so similar to the things that I  was contemplating last year or the year before.

It’s amazing how I find cycles that keep repeating all in the space of  28 squares on a page of the calendar.



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