February’s Vicissitudes

This month, though only a few days gone, is a hard one. The hoped for piles of snow are missing. The promise of spring is far off. The promise of time and energy and sun is only beginning to be realized. Just today Norman remarked, Wasn’t it just last week that it was getting dark at 4 pm? The days are getting longer.

February second, for many, marks Imbolc, or Brigid’s Day. In the earth-based traditions I have affinity with, this day is really about the plan for the future. Our faith in the changing seasons marks the decision to plant seeds. Our sense of spring’s inevitability makes these mid- to late winter sputters survivable. Or does it?

We’ve perused the food porn– what I call the lovely seed catalogs and websites of my favorites, Johnny’s, High Mowing, Fedco. We’ve made our seed order.  We are starting to plan our beds, build our seed starting space, are thinking of planting peas in the high tunnel. And yet. And yet.

DSCF1955I find that in February I often doubt myself the most. The fear of being a fraud, of being unskilled or misbegotten, or ridiculous, is strongest in February. And I am afraid to see it, to know it to be true. February finds me alternately drowning in online media or diving into the woods, searching for something besides my feeling body.

And I don’t know why I do this. Tonight, I gathered with five other women in our community space. We are taking a class together, looking at the history of the rise of capitalism, and its inextricable links to the devastation of the destruction of women’s knowledge and power through the witch burnings in Europe and USA. Tonight we tried to imagine ourselves back to a time where we were those strong women, caught in the vicissitudes of land enclosures and the development of the money system. We looked at the deep feeling bodies of our ancestors. And we survived it.

Not only did we survive it, but again, and again I forget this every time– it helped me, for a time, to feel connected and at ease. I know this so deeply, and deeply forget it every time– when we look at hard things, when we let ourselves feel the truth of our histories, the truth of ourselves– it helps to make things possible.

This is the vicissitude of February. That we remember and forget our power, our truths. That we dive and drown. That we plan and despair, and keep on going.

And then, March arrives.

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