Thought for the month – February

Janus, the old Roman god after whom January is named, was supposed to look both ways: both back to the old year and forward to the new.  But in terms of weather, I think Janus is more appropriate to February.  Because February, although a winter month, and often cold and snowy, can also frequently be quite mild and spring-like.  February, it seems, doesn’t know whether it wants to be true to its winter designation, or instead to start an early spring, taking its cue from Valentine’s Day when birds are supposed to choose their partners and start building their nests.

Many of us may be able to remember the bitter months of February in 1947 and 1963, and as recently as 2018 we experienced the “Beast from the East”.  Yet in 2019 there was a record high temperature for February of 21.2C recorded at Kew.

Like February, we ourselves may have something of an identity crisis. Every now and again we can be warm and generous, but we’re not convinced that we can risk being like that too often, and so we can find that it’s easier and safer to be wintry and cold-hearted.

What will February bring for us this year?

Keith Whyte