February begins, and we feel the stillness of the Earth, our gardens, our streets, ourselves. We are awaiting germination and do that best by keeping still. Not unconscious but subconscious, latent, receptive. Quiet. I used to hate this month but now embrace it as the gentlest lesson in faith. There are no more festival of lights planned, no bracing rituals to keep the wolves at bay. Rather, it is time to take long, solitary walks and to cook slow, root-laden meals. To trust rather than test. To listen rather than list. To sleep and to dream but not to dance on anyone’s grave. Not for nothing does Imbolc, the Gaelic festival that literally means “In the belly,” fall on February 2. This is the time to honor fertile seeds still buried deep. We must believe that this bare ground, this stony silence, can grow everything we’ll need or else it never will. I think of Philip Larkin’s words and am once again grateful for his guidance through life’s necessary seclusions:
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am.