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It’s finally February, after a January of funerals and birthdays - because that’s how it goes, isn’t it? The painted ponies go up and down. By the time this gets sent to the blogosphere, the Iowa Caucus will be caucusing and the Super Bowl will have superbowled and hopefully J Lo’s wardrobe didn’t malfunction and we can check off a few more boxes in the march to spring. It’s been in the 40s most days recently. Soon the daffodils will start to push through the mulch. They are so predictable that way. So are we. As the daffodils emerge, and then hyacinth and the tulips, we emerge too. We get our pedicures and swap out our boots for flats and flip flops and, like the rituals of religion, we can count on one thing happening and then the next. We genuflect at the start of the next thing and we move forward, our bodies and minds in muscle memory as we move through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year until we do it again.

This sounds hopeless, but it’s not meant to. It’s comforting, really, to know the framework of what is next. We might not know what colors will be filled in, but the lines are there and the structure is there and it exists less as a coloring page and more as a guidepost to mark the places where we turn. Like trail markers. We move to the next mark, and look to the most direct path to the next one, and the one after that. There is comfort in the predictability of what can be counted on. Which is not to say it’s always obvious. Sometimes the trail markers disappear for a while and we have go with our gut and wait for the next sign, the next road, the next rest stop. We know the rituals of winter and spring - we know that the days are getting a little longer now. We don’t need to see the trail markers to know that every winter since the world began has been followed by a spring. This winter will be no different.

Soon the daffodils will start to push through the mulch.

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