Welcome February: Ink, Sobs, and Chocolate

This morning I woke up to an ice rink of a driveway. I spent over an hour helping spread road salt and sand. To top it off, I had headache, an empty stomach, and a bad attitude. I was miserable.  

Welcome February! You sure know how to make an entrance.


Now that I’m in warm comfort and I’m staring at the cursor blink at me smugly in Word, I can’t help but smile and think of part of Boris Pasternak’s “February:”

Black Spring! Pick up your pen, and weeping, Of February, in sobs and ink, Write Poems, while the slush in thunder Is burning in the black of spring.

-Boris Pasternak, 1912, from the Lydia Pasternak Slater translation (Read the rest here.)

So maybe that’s what February is good for, the disgusting weather encourages you buckle down and get something done before the glorious distraction of spring fever hits.

And Valentine’s Day comes at just the right time to give us another opportunity to eat copious amounts of chocolate. Chocolate is good for brains, it boosts serotonin and other neurotransmitters. And happy brains can start thinking “only a few more days until March!”

March’s mantra is “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Just repeat that a few times a day and pretty soon, we’re knocking on April’s door. And April sounds like spring. April is hopeful. There’s an end in sight.

Oh, spring! Green! Birds chirping! Sunlight! No more frozen nose hair!

Where was I again?

Oh yes, back to Boris Pasternak and February. Ink and sobs and slush. Perfect words for this month.

Here’s a little song that I love to go along with today’s theme. Regina Spektor’s Apres Moi. The part she sings in Russian is the part of Pasternak’s poem that I posted above.

Just to bring this post full circle, since I am working on the Versailles Vignette Guide, Regina also sings “après moi, le déluge.” A loose translation would be “after me, the flood.”

The phrase is often attributed to Louis XV, suggesting he thought destruction would follow his reign. It has also been attached to Madame de Pompadour, one of Louis XV’s famed lovers, but no one really knows who said it. It certainly ties in neatly with the French Revolution and the fall of his successor, Louis XVI.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to brew some tea, scare up some chocolate, pick up my "pen," and take care of that tirelessly smug blinking cursor.

I hope you welcomed in February a little more kindly than I. Do you have any special ways you deal with this month? Let me know!