Monday, February 6, 2012

Right Smack Dab


The day was drippy, foggy, soggy, brown. There's just not much pretty happening in February, at least not at first glance.

Lately I feel like I'm way down deep in the middle, that steep crack between everything that I've been and all that I might want to be. I crave a slow-down. I want more meaningful time with my family, more date nights on the couch with the guacamole bowl in the middle. I want the grip of obligations to loosen, let me breathe. At the very same time, I'm starving for some action. I'm clamoring for the stretched out days when nine o'clock pm feels like its own kind of beginning.

I want to stay at home and never leave. I want to drive all night just to show up somewhere new. I want to cook a feast from scratch and eat out just because I can. I'm beat-up sweatpants and skinny cords; a stack of novels and reality TV.

I blame the month.

It's not that I dislike February. It's got Valentine's day, after all. But isn't it obvious to you and me and the postman and the bus driver that it's really little more than a bridge? I sweeps us out of December's gift wrap, it rescues us from the clutches of January's solemn vow to do some cardio and stop eating pie before bed. For that, we are thankful. But here we are, and what it feels like is stuck. It fits like a stall. We see Spring up ahead, the collective melting-off of Winter's edge. But we're not quite there.

It's hard, the here. It's no accident that February is the shortest month. We can only take so much Middle.

So what's the solution? How do we grab her by the ears and claim her as our own, as something we can love, something we might even revel in a bit? How do we hunt down her charms and burn them into our hearts?

First thing, we re-frame our expectations. February will never be June or October. She doesn't look so hot in short-shorts and she's fiercely allergic to burning leaves. Let's let her off the hook. She doesn't have to enrapture us like the other months do. She's got her own appeal and she's ready to show off.

Next? We stir together all of her almosts and not quites. We sift in some antsy and crack the shell of lazy. We bake it just long enough to see that we've got here is the best of every dang thing, topped with red sugared hearts.

We can waste away the grayest day and know that tomorrow will be perfect for getting things done and wearing lip-gloss while we do it. We can spend hours with American Idol and a heart-shaped paper punch and not suffer a single lick of guilty.

Can we do it? I'll try if you do. Maybe we'll both notice that the drear takes a wild turn for the romantic, moody haze of a life well-loved.