Tales from the Northern Forests


February

The North-Westerly wind is mild. It ruffles only the lightest feathers of the little house sparrow, and gives a tenderness and warmth to the air that raises the spirit with the sure promise of spring.
The bright yellow of the first daffodils enhances the good mood and adds a touch of cheerfulness. Read more in The Daffodils >>
February - the shortest month of the year – is said to be halfway point of winter when the livestock farmer should have half his straw and half his hay untouched.

The ancient Romans would celebrate a festival called Februa at this time. It was a feast of spiritual cleansing (Latin februum meaning purgation). Because of its importance the Romans named the month in which it fell Februaris.
The Anglo-Saxons, on the other hand, called this month ‘solmonath’ meaning the mud month. i This was most likely a reference to the state of the soil at that time of year. But we all know that mud also has its cleansing and healing properties.
If it rains in February every day
in June you’re sure of plenty of hay.
Till this day there where three countries meet - Belgium, Germany
and The Netherlands and where I was born and raised - another festival is celebrated in February. This festival, simply called ‘Carnival’ is celebrated seven weeks before Easter and therefore mostly falls somewhere in February. The festival lasts three days and is full of craziness and joy.
Everybody, small and old, rich and poor will wear a costume, put on a crazy hat or paint their face. They will sing silly songs that are especially written for this festival, dance like clowns and hold satirical speeches. They will celebrate as if there is no tomorrow and that’s the essence of this feast.

There are no worries, no important choices to make, no regrets, nothing to learn, nothing to do except having fun and enjoying yourself. It is a time of letting go; letting go of things gone by, your mistakes, your misfortunes, your hurts and your pains without worrying about things to come.

As mentioned above the ancient Romans celebrated a feast of spiritual cleansing in February. For me there is no better way to do this then go crazy for three days and let go. It heals my wounds and breaks my chains. It sets me free again and fills me with joy. And which other power would allow and support all this and fill me with such happiness than the power of love.

I strongly feel that February is that time of year when the power of love manifests itself. Maybe that is why in the month of February we also celebrate Valentine’s Day >>

But given the choice between a romantic dinner, loads of chocolate or ‘Carnival’, I still prefer, just this one time a year, to let go and be crazy, crazy in love with Love.


Love is in the Air  >>



The Daffodils

by William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
I wander’d lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er vales and hills,
when all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of golden daffodils,
beside the lake, beneath the trees
fluttering an dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the starts that shine
and twinkle on the milky way,
they stretch’d in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay;
ten thousand saw I at a glance
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
out-did the sparkling waves in glee: -
a poet could not but be gay
in such a jocund company!
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
in vacant or in pensive mood
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills
and dances with the daffodils.

The Tale of the Month of March  >>



  1. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, Millennium Edition, London, 1999, ISBN 0-304-35873-8 (pbk).
© Brigitte Franssen 2008
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