Editor's note: This is the latest installment in Bob's The Geek Speaks series! (In other words, I've been neglecting Unlikely Origins so it has fallen to Bob to give it some sweet blog lovin'.) At any rate, here he is!
In "The Waste Land" T.S. Eliot calls April "the cruelest month." I have to respectfully disagree with him and proclaim the cruelest month to be February. February is also the most taunting month, giving us hints and glimpses of the spring to come by bring us the sun and temperatures even into the 50s. A scant 72 hours after that the temperatures are back down into the low double digits and we're shoveling several inches of snow beneath skies the color of a poorly maintained battleship's hull. If these things are not cruel and taunting, I'm not sure what would fit that definition.
I have lived in Michigan for my entire life. Every one of my life's winters from 1965 onward has been spent under those leaden skies. Every February I gain hope and joy at seeing the sun and being able to walk around in, at worst, a light jacket. Then the mirage falls away and we are pushed down into the depths of the winter again. It happened again to us last week. We enjoyed a temperature moderation into the 50s and most of the snow melted away. We walked around in shirt sleeves outside! Karinya contemplated going for a run! (Ed. note: contemplated!) We could smell springtime in the air!
Then came Sunday. It was a great morning; we were able to pawn the baby off on… err… send the baby to spend some quality time with her cousins and we got up late and went to have a nice breakfast and then home to watch some Big Bang Theory (I love that show, have I mentioned?) We were in the bedroom, which typically has the blinds closed, and eventually got a call from my sister.
"Hey, is it snowing yet down there?" she asked.
"Of course not!" I replied. "It's just grey out but not snowing!"
This was before Karinya opened the blinds in the bedroom. It was not just snowing, it was SNOWING. Crazy snowing. And now I had to drive in it to get K from my sister. What a cruel month. The storm set down about six or so inches of snow and a nice layer of glaze on top of it. Now, four days later, we're looking at another five to seven inches in the next 36 hours. Cruelty indeed.
But I know that these are the death throes of winter. I know that there is far less to come than there is behind and soon it will be March. There is talk on the radio of the Tigers in spring training and the beginnings of discussion about playoff time in hockey. Karinya is looking through her bridal magazines and is sharing interesting web sites for invitations and save the date and thank you cards. These are all signs that spring will, well, spring and the crocuses will bloom and winter will finally melt away -- for eight or nine months, at least. The smells of spring will soon be on the breeze and the wedding plans will proceed at a breakneck pace until the big day. And winter -- and February -- will be a memory. For a while.
February may be the cruelest month by my account but the joke is on it -- it's the shortest month and the last month of the deep winter. There can be no despair when so many wonderful things are just around the dark grey corner!