The shortest month

Punxstawney Phil has never worked for me. Early reports say that he failed to see his shadow this morning, so we can expect an early spring. This is a superstition, of course, and I don’t want to believe in it. Honesty, though, compels me to confess to a  superstition of my own. I’ll get to it in a minute.

Growing up I always hated February. It felt like an extension of winter, which in the Baltimore of my childhood felt endless. Time dims memory, but I’m fairly certain that it was in February that I crashed my sled into the back end of a parked car on an icy hill. Still hurts to think about it. My view of this second month in our calendar year is evolving, though.

February is when pitchers and catchers report to warm climate locations, signaling the start of baseball’s spring training. This is a beautiful thing.

February is when our first child was born, a beautiful daughter who has grown to become a competent business executive and loving mother.

February is when the college basketball season heats up and teams try to make it into post-season tournaments. So here is my superstition confession: I am a big fan of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. On days they are scheduled to play, my underwear is always going to be Carolina Blue. Without fail. My shirt, too. Does this help them win? Well, not always, but it helps me to believe.

For me, best thing about February is its length. Our shortest month, even in leap years. Punxsatawney Phil can go back to sleep. I suspect that winter will stick around for a while longer. But my countdown to spring starts today.

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