Thursday, February 2, 2012


Although there are outdoor opportunities galore for those who opt to participate during the winter months, few are done without a lot of effort. Often times, the effort to participate is a part of the experience and though peripheral, is as good a measure of success as any.

For instance, last winter I traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the dead of winter to ice fish on a snowy, wind-blown lake. The goal may have been to catch enough perch to provide protein for dinner that evening, but comfort and survival were just as important.

But that doesn’t mean I truly love winter. I endure it.
That being the case, why is February one of my favorite months? Both of my children, my mom, George Washington and Abe Lincoln were all born in February. Does that make it a favorite?

Ground Hog Day and Valentines Day fall in February. Am I all in for these holidays?  No, and it’s not Superbowl Sunday or the quadrennial celebration of Leap Year day.

It’s because February holds promise.

There’s no promise to December. It’s as likely to be cold and snowy on December first as it is on New Year’s Eve. January is worse. Regardless of what the weather is like when you get up on January first, you know there’s every chance the weather will be worse on January thirty-first.

Jump ahead to March. It’s no better. The adage of coming in like a lamb, out like a lion or vice versa is true. Weather reports for March first and thirty-first are often similar or it’s just as likely to be more inclement at the end of the month than at the beginning. For warm weather fans, March holds no promise.

But February is full of promise! It’s the beginning of the end of winter. If it’s below zero on the last day of January, it’s just as likely to be as cold on the first day of February. But it’s not likely to be that cold at the end of the month.

Sure February weather will produce winter doses of bone-chilling cold, wind-chills, sleet and snow. But it will also feature increasing numbers of days with bright sun and thawing temperatures. Most important, the trend is upward. As the month progresses, winter wanes and summer gains.

Don’t hang up your winter parka. Don’t bother getting out your flyrod. But each February morning, face the day knowing the end of winter approaches.

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