February is the longest month of the year, even though it’s also the shortest month in the year. Maybe that’s why they stuck it into the middle of the winter, far enough away from Christmas that the Christmas glow has faded, but not near enough to the spring season holidays – spring break, Easter, Passover, etc. – that I can look forward to them. It’s a difficult month in terms of budgets, weather, health and timing.
There are only two major events that come to mind for February – St. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras. Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday/event. During junior high school and high school, one school club or another would sell carnations as a fund raiser. You bought a carnation to be delivered to another student of your choice. I have too many memories of being carnation less year after year after year to take much joy in the holiday. Those memories still sting, although you’d think after 40 years they’d start to lose their power. Mardi Gras, alas, I have never celebrated.
This year, I suspect that there are many people out in Texas who agree with me about this being the longest shortest month in the year. I have watched the news and listened to stories from my friends that live there with immense pity and horror. One friend out there told me that they were all laughing at the governor’s “boil water” order. As she said, “How can we boil water when none of us have any power to heat it with?”
But in the midst of my curmudgeonly grumping over February and my empathy for the people in the frozen tundra of Texas, my writer brain kicks in, and I start wondering what would happen if someone had to encounter, deal with and investigate a murder in the middle of such extreme weather. And so in the back of my mind, a plot is spinning, and suddenly February isn’t such a long month after all.
What kind of situations provide grist for your story mill?