February dregs


So, this is how February is going–I accidentally set my rough draft on fire. I did not burn down the house. Thank goodness for small blessings.

I wrote this three years ago.

Three years later, it is February again. Again, a story is pushing against the inside of my skull, longing to be told. Again, however, mine is a plague-house. I fight with reluctant fires in woodstoves, disinfect surfaces, pour endless drinks and heat endless bowls of soup, and the one thing that is not happening is writing. The one really good stretch of time I got to write was early in the month. I accidentally set my manuscript on fire. (Advice to writers: don’t edit paper drafts while burning a candle on your desk.)

Again, I am reminded that this is the longest month of the year. Our hot water heater died in the middle of an ice storm. A huge pine crashed down across the driveway, uprooted from the sodden earth by tempestuous winds. The fact that the house is not a complete disaster feels like a major achievement. The Gatorade-pouring is about to give me carpal tunnel.

I feel simultaneously antsy and  aimless. Spring is on the move, beneath the ice-crust over the saturated earth. Daffodils are spearing from the soil. The temperature climbed above sixty one day and I spotted a couple of honeybees. My heart soared. Then it snowed.

I don’t know what I want to be doing (or is it that I can’t do anything for more than five minutes without needing to take care of someone or something?). My thoughts feel disjointed, my mind unsettled. I feel I ought to be doing something. Between the endless loads of laundry and the medicines to administer and the substitute teacher plans, there is little time left. Not enough to settle in to writing. Barely enough to draft a grocery list.

Everyone I know is having a February. At least we’re in this together–the frazzled teachers, the beleaguered parents, the winter-dwellers who are going stir-crazy for the warmth of the sun.

At least we’ve only got one more day of this left. We can do this. Let’s go.