The February Slump


About a decade ago, my father was filming footage of our mostly beautiful hometown, Richmond, Va., to send to family back in Moscow. When he turned his camera on the blighted areas surrounding the interstate, near downtown, I was annoyed. “Why would you want to show that?” I asked.

“Because I want to show a full picture of where we live. You know where else they glossed over all the bad parts?” he asked rhetorically. “Communist Russia.”

“Uh huh,” I said, as his camera grazed over the abandoned houses and trash-covered parking lots.

Weather-wise, New York City in February is sort of like that dirty parking lot in the middle of a quaint city. It is the worst. Snow has fallen and collected in dingy brown piles on the sidewalk. In addition, because the city is medieval when it comes to trash collecting and bags are stacked high on the street, pieces of random garbage are strewn in and around the snow and are iced over inside of it. The tableau resembles a sort of nightmarish memory box.

There are still a few bright spots: the blueish-almost-turquoise haze of a wintry city at sunset, a near silent night of softly falling snow, the cozy warmth of a neighborhood restaurant.

Still, there’s no shame in hibernation. Though I’ve written about the importance of venturing out into the cold in order to combat SAD, sometimes it’s okay to stay in and avoid the soul-crush temperatures and grimy slush. Maybe make this tasty bolognese or decadent babka as you wile away the hours until May.


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