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This is the country road that goes to the village where I live.  Since I have lived here, I have always loved driving along this part of the road, which is like a tunnel of trees.  Every beginning of each month I will take a picture from the same spot and post it here.

I think this photo does not really reflect the season; it would have been better if there had been some frost on the trees.  But this is Ireland and it seems that the weather on this first day of the month of February decided to agree with the fact that it is officially Spring.

Spring?  The first year I was in Ireland, I had a laugh when I was told on the 1st of February that it was the beginning of spring.  I thought this person did not know what she was talking about or that people had been taught strange things at school.  Surely, spring starts on the 21st of March, the day of the equinox?

I have since discovered that Ireland has its own seasonal calendar.  When most countries in the North hemisphere would follow an astrological calendar, based on the dates of the solstices and equinoxes, or a meteorological one, Ireland has a calendar based on pagan traditions.  Thus, spring starts on the 1st of February, summer on the 1st of May, autumn on the 1st of August and winter on the 1st of November.

Spring, you say?  It might be time to plant the seeds I have bought for my summer veg then….

Here is an extract from Margaret Atwood’s poem “February” (how appropriate?).  You can read the whole poem here.

Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Last night I settled to read the two books I have on at the moment: Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood and My Life as a Man by Philip Roth.  Although both deal with the writer, they are quite different, but wait!  During my reading of Negotiating with the Dead, I came across this passage:

“No doubt this is because I was told, in 1960, as a twenty-year-old poet, by an older poet who was a man, that I would never come to anything as a poet until I had been a truck-driver, thus learning at first hand what real people actually did all day.  I don’t think there are any tried true correlations of that reliable cause-and-effect sausage-machine kind between life and art, or none that have to do with quality – that is, raw material into the truck-driver’s seat, and after a while, accomplished top-grade artist out the other door.  But perhaps if it had been possible for me to hire myself out as a female truck-driver – which it was nor, yet, there and then – I would have done it, and it would have become one of those formative experiences biographers are so fond of talking about, and then I might have thought otherwise.”

A paragraph later, I put down this book and opened My Life as a Man.  In the first paragraph I read, I found the following quotation:

“Unattached and on her own, a woman was supposedly not even able to go to the movies or out to a restaurant by herself, let alone perform and appendectomy or drive a truck.  It was up to us then to give them the value and the purpose that society at large withheld – by marrying them.”

I got that weird feeling of déjà-lu.  Strange…

My conclusion is that the Feminists got it all wrong: driving trucks was the way forward!

I found this quote on intelligence while reading Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov. I love it, so I thought I would share it with you 🙂

“that is his head, containing a brain of a different brand than that of the synthetic jellies preserved in the skulls around him”

What a nice compliment!