T.S. Eliot thought that April was the cruelest month. Tom was always a little strange. I suppose in today's PC environment we would call it 'calendrically-challenged.' Or maybe he just never spent a winter on the High Plains.
For my money February qualifies for the title, whether it's 'cruel' or 'doldrums.' Out here when you hit February you are a good three months into what passes for winter on the prairie and have another two to go before the glimmer at the end of the tunnel, as they say.
True, there's a lot to do. Between wood-chopping, reading, writing, loading ammo, tinkering with guns, and messing about with picture files there is no cause for boredom. (As an old photographer I still think of the basic photographic product as a 'negative.' Can't quite get used to calling them 'files.')
This year I even treated myself to a couple of Native American flutes, as they are called, and have been teaching myself about how they work. Beautiful things they are and playing them (that's what I call it anyway!) is a soothing, almost meditative practice. Even the dogs seem to like them, which was a pleasant surprise to me.
There's only so much reading, writing, and suchlike one can do, however. I long for the seamless re-attachment to the outside world. It's not like we're confined, the dogs and I, but the temperatures and the near-arctic wind can be factors in deciding that it's a lot preferable to be inside. Sometimes there are also real safety issues in being outside for long. Wind-chills of -40° can be somewhat unpleasant.
But this morning I lay in bed and watched an absolutely glorious sunrise spreading itself over the prairie. Reds and golds, purples and greens, shot through with lovely shades of gray and burnt umber. I couldn't resist and had to go out and shoot a couple of frames. But you have to act quickly with sunrises and by the time I got outside the bloom was off. Still beautiful, but the jewel-like quality was gone. Anyway it's always better to enjoy than try to capture. I say that, but the photographer's urge is always there.
I choose to see this morning's sunrise as a harbinger, a sweet message of spring-to-come. That's a welcome message at this time of year. It's spring and summer speaking with one voice: "We shall be back!"