My family and I spent the good part of last week in Florida. (The bad part of last week we huddled together for warmth here in Indianapolis.)
I’m a firm believer in taking Spring Breaks in February, despite the fact that it isn’t spring, nor is spring even imminent. It’s just because February, despite being the shortest month of the year, flat-out sucks. The poet, T. S. Elliot, wrote that April was the cruelest month but I don’t agree. February is with its biting wind and bitter cold. By the second month of the year the novelty of winter has completely worn off. All the things that delighted us in October and November now only depress us. Christmas is long gone, warm weather is a distant memory, and everyone has forgotten what it feels like to have sun on your face.
So there is nothing better when the February blues hit than to pile into a minivan packed to the gills with snacks, books, and children and head south.
To get to our destination in Florida, my family and I drove for sixteen hours- stopping only to get gas and use grimy gas station bathrooms. But the unhygienic peeing conditions and the long cramped car ride were completely worth it when we arrived to warm temperatures and the salty smell of the sea in the air.
I’ve said it before and I will repeat it again and again: there’s something magical about sitting on a beach with your toes buried in the sand. I’m not sure what it is about hunting for seashells or hearing the waves crash on the beach or watching pelicans dive for fish but these things heal tiny cracks in my soul that I didn’t even know were there. While staring out at the seemingly endless ocean, library book lying forgotten on my lap, my priorities all seem to realign and it’s as if I’m able to rediscover my place in the universe.
Our trip to Florida was a quick one this year, we were gone for less than a week. But sometimes a few days is all you need to feel like you’re skipping February.
I hope, Gentle Reader, that the February blues haven’t been too bad for you this year. And, I hope that there is something as healing as a warm, sandy beach in your life.