A month of hope as February ushers in the light of Spring

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I met a person a couple of weeks back who made a rather strange admission to me: she said she loved the dark winter nights, mainly on the basis that they delivered long hours of evening relaxation to read papers, book and to watch television in a cosy room in front of an open fire.

A ‘take’ on wintertime that I don’t hear too often, but I suppose beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, although I could never feel any great ‘grá’ for that window of darkness which starts with the changing of the clocks on the last Sunday of October and ends – well at least in my mental calendar – on the last day of January.

There is though something rather special about February’s arrival, and when we celebrate St. Brigid’s Day on Thursday, it just seems to release a mild dose of serotonin into the system as we look forward to brighter mornings and evenings, milder weather and a resurgence in growth and new life.

While the meteorologists in our neck-of-the-woods still regard February as a winter month, I was brought up in a generation when St. Brigid’s Day marked the first day of Spring.

Even the sometimes sullen Franciscans, who taught us in ‘national school’, seemed to perk up when the door closed on January as they told us to watch out for the rooks gathering twigs and sticks in preparation for the nesting season.

All a bit innocent in its own way as if the crows would suddenly look at the calendar and say: “Hey guys . . . it’s February 1st . . . time to start the spring schedule.”

The ‘brothers’ also tended to release shots of adrenalin with the early feast days of February –  ‘miracle worker’ Brigid on the 1st; Candlemas Day on the 2nd; and then St. Blaise’s Day on the 3rd, when we’d get our throats blessed and make insincere vows that no more curses would issue through our vocal chords!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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