February Hearts and Lions

Monday Morning Musings:


“And February was so long that it lasted into March

And found us walking a path alone together,

You stopped and pointed and you said, ‘That’s a crocus,’

And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”

I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”

You said, “I still love you.”

–Dar Williams, “February”


“This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments?”

–Henry David Thoreau, Walden


February grayness brightens with a flower

teasing us before the snow.

The snow moon haunts and taunts

the wind blows,

wild wolves howling in the night,

winter darkness,

and yet dawn comes,

and so will spring.


First Crocus, National Park, NJ



Watching the February snow. National Park, NJ


My daughters and I,

in separate locations,

celebrate our snow day

(though the inch or two in New Jersey

does not compare to Boston’s blizzard)

we share our thoughts,

in text messages

(technology that did not exist when I young)

throughout the day,

as if we were wondering in and out of rooms—

separated by space,

but instantly connected in time,

what we are cooking and baking–

meatballs, lentil soup, artisan bread, sweet potato nachos–

deciding banana bread with added chocolate chips

makes it both bread and cake,

suitable for breakfast or dessert,

one daughter says she just watched, Finding Dory,

and cried,

but then we cry over everything,

TV shows, books, commercials,

other daughter says, “I cried when I burnt toast the other day,

but the point is that you should watch the movie.”

My husband chimes in with a message that he is saving this conversation,

“It is SO my family.”


A few days later my husband and I see the movie, Lion,

and my tears flow,

I think it is good I’m not watching it with my daughters,

all three of us sobbing in the theater,

though I notice my husband discreetly wiping his eyes.

I think again about technology,

the nineteenth-century invention, the train,

that separates the five-year-old boy from his family,

that little boy with the heart and spirit of a lion,

a twentieth-century plane separates them ever father

across bodies of water to Tasmania

how a twenty-first-century invention, Google Earth,

brings them back together

It turns out that we see the movie in February,

and it was in February that Saroo Briefley reunited with his family.


On a February night I gave birth to one daughter,

and on a February night three years later, I gave birth to her sister,

and so, we celebrate birthdays

with wine and chocolate


around the holiday of love

hearts and love

chocolate and wine


I think of the brilliant February moon,

its light shining through the kitchen window

making me stop and stare,

and gaze at the sky–

technology leads us out to the stars,

to our moon’s craters

and to Saturn’s rings,

Valentine’s love from Cassini



“Splendid Saturn,”NASA Image, PIA06594/ NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute


I wake during the night to hear

February’s winds,

wild horse gods,

stallions that gallop in

and seed the ground,

for spring

will come again–

until then, there is chocolate, wine,

and memories.


A number of New  Jersey wineries have special wine and chocolate events close the weekend before Valentine’s Day. This year we went to one at Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill, NJ.

Trailer for Lion.

32 thoughts on “February Hearts and Lions

  1. The poem by Dar Williams is filled with the sadness of something like alzheimer’s. Such a bitter-sweet post Merril.
    Happy -almost Valentine’s Day and belated St Dwynwen’s Day.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Thanks so much, David. Happy Valentine’s Day and belated St. Dwynwen’s Day to you. Hugs!
      You are right that what I posted by Dar Williams sounds like Alzheimer. It’s actually part of a song. Here’s a link:

  2. Your husband’s line about the family made me laugh. Nonetheless, a wonderful collection of seemingly unrelated events knitted together to make sense. Well done … and Happy Valentine’s Day.

  3. The movie “Lion” is on my list to see. I love the story and am admiring the cast, too.
    Our family, including Dad, cry when things and people touch our hearts, Merril.
    Chocolate and wine sound simply divine! Hope you are staying warm and cozy, enjoy your Happy Valentine’s Day! xo ❤

      • Thank you, Merril. I look forward to the first weekend in February I will stay home and have grandies sleepover on Friday and a real date with my guy of 9 months.
        I remember looking up dates when Dar was going to sing in Ohio. 🙂
        So, now I know what month brought your two dear daughters here. ❤ It is also the month my grandson, Micah, and my brother, Rich, were born exactly 50 years apart. 🙂 (2-27)

  4. I cried like a faucet watching “Lion,” too. My husband patted my hand and tried not to roll his eyes 😀

    Your lovely photo with you and the glass of wine — such a happy smile! I love reading your Monday Musings.

  5. I like dark chocolate with a good stout, but my favorite pairing is chocolate with cherry wine. I was spoiled by the excellent cherry wines available in Western New York. In mid-Missouri, I had to be satisfied with a super-sweet concoction that called itself cherry wine, until I found one from Hermann, but it’s 60 miles away and not sold in any local stores. (Of course, a bottle or two of cherry wine from Niagara County always makes the trip back from a visit to Niagara Falls – but 900 miles is a bit far for to go for a hankering.)

    • I don’t like beer (or ale or stout), but my husband does. I’m not a big fan of cherry flavor either.
      Super-sweet cherry wine sounds awful. Most of the wineries around us make sweet fruit wines (ewww), even if they also make dry wines. There’s lots of blueberry and peach wines. I mainly drink dry reds, but I like port or port-like dessert wines, which is what is pictured with the flourless chocolate birthday cake.
      I hope you get to stock up on your Niagara County cherry wine soon. 🙂

      • The Niagara escarpment parallels Lake Ontario. The area has long been known for its fruit orchards, notably peach, apple and cherry. The Niagara Region, just across the river in Canada has had a thriving wine industry for decades. Finally, in the last 15-20 years, small vintners have discovered that the area below the escarpment in New York has a perfect micro-climate for grapes, and the Niagara Wine Trail now has more than 20 wineries. At least one of those partners with local orchards, and their fruit wines are not just flavor-added. They even have one on the dry side. I have a couple of bottles from my Christmas trip that I’m rationing until June.

  6. It sounds like a lovely weekend, Merril. I love how you describe February’s winds. They have been particularly rambunctious this year. I’d like to see the movie Lion, and will remember to bring tissues. I cry at just about everything, too.

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