Tales from the Northern Forests


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.

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  >>

If it rains in February every day
in June you’re sure of plenty of hay.

It was still early in the morning. She walked across the field with her dog. On her right the sun shone with a cheery smile. It started to rain. 'There should be a rainbow,' she thought with a smile not expecting to see one. She walked on and glanced briefly to her left to check where the wind was coming from.

She couldn't believe her eyes and turned to see if her eyes hadn't deceived her. Right in front of her was a rainbow, like a gate to a different world. She stood right in the middle of it and could clearly see both ends. Its beautiful colours were even more cheerful than the sun that now shone on her back. She wanted to walk through that gate and enter the beautiful world that promised to be there on the other side. Knowing that that wasn't possible she just stood there filled with wonder as the wind blew in her face. She stood there one minute, two minutes, four minutes then the rainbow started to slowly fade away until it completed disappeared as if it had never been there.

As if that special performance by the elements had not happened. But it had happened - just for her.
It had happened on February 10th 2016. January, named after the god Janus: the god of doors and gates, had just gone. Was he opening a door for her or closing?

The whole experience reminded her of one of Kafka's little stories 'Before the Law'. In that story a man from the country is stopped at the gate by a strange doorman. Read more >>

"He who marvels at the beauty of the world in Summer
will find equal cause for wonder and admiration
in Winter..."

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
HomeSouvenir ShopNew ArrivalsRLE ictMailboxEnglish SectionGreeting CardsDutch SectionSitemapDonations