January is always a month of contrasting transitions. The hectic stress of the holidays ends, but so do the family gatherings and gift giving, the music and the pie. The old year's over and any of its regrets can be left behind with resolutions to change things in the new year we begin full of the hope, and perhaps the expectation, that it will be better than the last. The lights and decoration come down, leaving our homes less cheery, but back in order again. The kids go back to school, good for most parents, not so good for most kids. Lots of good sales at the mall, but the Christmas bills arrive, too. We finally accept that winter is truly here and really hunker down, prepared at last, to wait it out, knowing Spring is just on the other side of Easter.
One thing I love about January is that I hang my new calendar. In 2007, my friend Ruth gave me one as a welcome to our new home. It is an art calendar, one of those where each month is a separate print and it hangs on my wall in a frame. The artist's name is Janine Moore and she is an artist from Kennebunkport, Maine. I love these calendars so much, that I have bought one every year since then.
Even the cardboard portfolio it comes in is pretty.
"In this sequestered nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard seat
And birds and flowers once more to greet..."
Janine Moore's subjects in these calendars are flowers and every month is just as pretty as the next. Like I said, each picture would be suitable for framing, and they are much too nice to discard. So, I have all 3 prior years tucked away in a cabinet. Ed asked me why I keep them, but I can't part with them. They don't have a year on each month's page, so I guess I could reuse them when a future year lines up correctly. Remember those perpetual calendars they had so you could look up what years' calendars are the same? http://www.vpcalendar.net/Year_Correlations.html That's a link so you can see when a particular year's dates line up the same way. According to that perpetual calendar, I can reuse 2007's calendar in 2018; 2008's calendar in 2036; and the 2009 calendar can be reused again in 2015. That's certainly doable. And this year's calendar can be used again in 2021. I just hope I know where I have put them.
Now, on to February
"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March." - Dr. J. R. Stockton
It is the month of Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, Presidents' Day and Black History Month, Valentine's Day and Groundhog Day.
The birth month of Washington, Reagan, William Henry Harrison and Abe Lincoln; Charles Lindbergh, Queen Elizabeth II, Mary Queen of Scots and Susan B. Anthony; Felix Mendelssohn, Longfellow, Edison and Galileo, and many more well-known historical figures. It seems February produced a very large number of notables. The birthstone for February is Amethyst. It is the only month of the year that can go without a full moon.
And I learned something new today. February 1 is National Freedom Day, created by Major Richard Robert Wright, Sr. (1855-1947).
Wright was a former slave, born in Dalton, GA, just a few miles from where I live now.
He wanted all Americans to celebrate freedom and to celebrate President Lincoln signing the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, on Feb. 1, 1865.
President Truman signed a bill in June of 1948, a year after Major Wright died, proclaiming February 1 as National Freedom Day, a day when all Americans should reflect on the freedoms we enjoy. Laying a wreath at the Liberty Bell on National Freedom Day is something that still takes place now.
Wright went from being born into slavery to a man of incredible accomplishments in many areas.