The Light Ahead

In his novel Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins writes, "However more abbreviated than its cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off its mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows quickly old."

If you're unlucky enough to live north of the sunnier subtropical zones of the United States, Robbins' anti-February screed likely hits a nerve.

Winter's early edge is blunted by the comfort of the holidays, the shiny newness of the turning year and the cleanup that immediately follows.

By the time we're ditching our resolutions because hibernation just seems so much more appealing, we're well into January.

By the time February rolls around, many of us have had enough.

On the other hand, February does sometimes have its days of sudden surprising (relative) warmth. And importantly, it seems like it's always in February that one begins to notice the sun is not setting quite so early. Instead of the bleak darkness that falls before 5 p.m., the sun is setting well after 5:30 by the time month's end rolls around.

On top of all of that, as February gets rolling, you no longer have the whole long slog of winter ahead. March, after all, is just around the corner, and March means spring, even if that balmier season doesn't really seem to take hold until April, or sometimes May.

All of this is to say, there's a light up ahead, literally and figuratively. Spring is coming, and then summer, and with them all the outdoor programming, swimming, sports, hiking and fun that come with warmer weather. In addition, we can, hopefully, begin to appreciate that there's a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel coming. (Fingers crossed, knock on wood, salt over the shoulder and so on.)

In the meantime, we're bringing you a magazine chock-full of great stories and ideas to keep you occupied through the last long nights of winter, from expert insight on the lessons learned from 2020's trials to how to ensure you're following best practices for keeping people safe when it comes to playgrounds, aquatics and youth sports. We have stories on adaptive reuse and inclusive design, diversity in public art and new ideas for fitness.

So put on some comfy slippers, pour a warm and soothing cup of something and kick your feet up. Next time I catch up with you here, spring will be imminent.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]