Even Winter Passes
“February fill-dyke” is what country folk in England used to call this month. That was when rains would pour and snows would come and go. Perhaps that’s changed now, and it’s certain that a lot of these sayings died out long since as Britons in general lost touch with the living countryside.
So it may be a surprise that I write this welcome to February.
Many people, both friends and acquaintances, have told me that this seems to have been a long, long Winter. Indeed, it does seem somehow that they are right.
And lots of those people have mentioned that their spirits have been lowered during this season: moreso, they say, than in previous Winters.
Which is why I’m welcoming fickle February. For I, too, have felt melancholia descend upon me with more than usual strength this Winter.
A few years back, we – Rosie and I – closed our taxi-firm. That was due to reasons such as a couple of health scares and the onset of old-age. I felt no longer able to drive the long hours to which I’d become accustomed – accustomed myself – over the couple of decades when we’d run “Cornflake’s Cabs” in Aberystwyth.
I’d pioneered the first all-night, sitting-on-the-rank taxi-service in that town; I’d shown the other cabbies the importance of being on time for bookings; and I’d discovered cabbying had been my true niche in life.
Happy is the man who discovers his perfect job in this life, however long that discovery takes to arrive. The business was very successful.
One of the things I noticed over the years, sitting out there on the rank beside Aber’s stylish little railway-station overnight, was that the gloom of the late nights and early mornings began to lighten when February came. Even on heavily clouded mornings, one could see the coming of the day a minute or two earlier each morning.
The evenings were never so noticeable gloomy: the town – even before the all-hours opening of pubs – was pretty active until gone midnight. University towns usually are.
But the quietness of those before six o’clock hours gave the dark a real hold over the place.
So February was – and is, I suppose – my month.
Now, during my usually easy-going retirement, I still have the conditioning of those days. I am awake at five, or even before, and I cannot force myself to stay in bed until seven. Old habits die hard, and good habits are not a bad thing.
Even now I see, each evening and each morning, that “my month” has brought me a little more daylight to help me through.
If you, dear reader, suffer from “Winter blues” or whatever you call them, rejoice a little – for February is here!