February: The Longest Month


(C) Game Freak2600, used under GNU Free Documentation License

For a month that’s only 28 or 29 days long, depending on the year, February has to be the longest month in this hemisphere. If it’s not snowing in my part of the country, temperatures warm to the point where it’d be nice outside if all that snow we’d get didn’t come down as rain.

It’s said that one inch of rain equals ten inches of snow, which would make this February the wettest month in recent memory. This is the month that makes the climate change debate so confusing. If the Earth is getting warmer, why the f*** are we getting buried? Of course, the science behind all that is much more complicated that “If it’s warmer, we shouldn’t have subzero temps in, say, Kentucky.” A warmer Earth means whackier weather, and I’m sure you’ll agree the last twenty years have been pretty whacky.

But it’s not just that. Just as August is usually the hottest month of summer after two months of the northern pole pointed at the sun rather than away from it, the reverse is true of February. By December 21, winter solstice, the North Pole is pointed as far from the sun as it will get. And it stays in the dark until…  Well… February, when we start seeing signs of the spring equinox. So for two months, the northern hemisphere has not been getting as much sunlight, the pole is completely in the dark, and that dreaded polar vortex gets wider and wider until…

February. By then, we’re so sick of the cold and the dark that we torture small rodents by dragging them out of their holes early in the morning, and pretend they can tell us the weather. Said rodents, a groundhog likely named for your locality – Punxutawney Phil, Cleveland Chuck, etc. – would probably like it if we would all leave them alone. Instead, we focus all our rage on these animals that, most of the year, we barely realize exist. Yes, it’s Punxy Phil’s fault that Boston has ten feet of snow or that Cincinnati was actually colder than the North Pole this past week. It has nothing to do with the fact that neither Bostonians nor Cincinnatians do not live in Florida.

As I write this on Sunday morning, I’m looking at weather.com’s 10-day forecast. Granted, anything over three days is subject to radical change, but mysteriously, on March 1, the temperature is predicted to rise to 41 degrees. There’s snow in the forecast, but it looks as though next week, it’ll melt.

I would rejoice over a warm February, but the same year Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, we had a warm February. Cincinnati was a mudhole from Groundhog Day until St. Patrick’s Day. And by St. Patty’s Day, I really needed a beer.

The last thing I can’t figure out is why Valentine’s Day and Black History Month are in February. It’s cold. It’s dark. More often than not, it’s dangerous outside. Why not move them to August? Sure, it’s hot, but I’m more inclined to go somewhere in 90-degree heat than I am through the snow. I’d be more inclined to go to a black history event when I don’t have to bundle up, and let’s be honest. You can justify being already naked in hot weather. Win-win on Valentine’s Day.

You’re reading this on February 25. The best thing I can say about that is February ends in three days.

Thank God for small miracles.