in which I risk a jinx

It’s cold out there, with snow blowing sideways and upward in the wind. It’s that popcorn kind of snow, round and fluffy and craving a good roving musician or two to accompany it with a tarantella. It’s a good feeling, to dance until you melt away.

I quoted the opening line of The Thief of Always this weekend: The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive. Myron said that in Ukrainian, the word for February means “vicious.” The winds outside must have visited Ukraine and learned to be vicious, to cut through my jeans and thermals and gloves and my enormous puffy coat.

A few years ago, I even had a playlist called great gray beasts, moody February music either melancholy for times past or desperate for a better future. But I’ll tell you something: Lately I’m waking up at six-thirty, at the first pink streaks in the sky. All the sorts of behaviors that usually wait a few months to kick in—the desire to spring-clean, rearrange furniture, eat a dinner composed entirely of knitting-needle-thin asparagus—they’re here now. And the sky, that brilliant blue! The gray cloud-beasts show up, but they’re quickly blown away by that frigid wind.

And so I knock on wood. Maybe February 2011 isn’t so tough after all. Maybe it’s a scared little boy in leather and metal, wearing the costume it always has, but deep down its favorite movie has a talking puppydog for a main character. Maybe those winds can just blow back to Ukraine and be vicious over there, and leave my blue skies behind.