a prelude for february

It's always hard to believe that a whole month has passed since we put another year behind us, but that's the thing about time: it doesn't care.

The stories in February are stories about isolation, because February is a month where you hide from the world. You've endured two months of winter and there's still at least one to go, and all the winter festivals to help keep you warm and human are behind you. February is a month to be endured alone.

There were five stories in January, which were told to me by five people, and which I've told here before. They're five people who know each other, and they're often stories about each other, and there will be stories from each of them every month. And every story will have a counterpoint, six months later: while January's stories were about hope, July's will be about regret.

But we're a long ways from the warmth of the July sun, or even the brilliant colors of May. It's still the winter, with all the winter's problems, and somehow the shortest month of the year is always one of the longest.

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