It isn't of course meant to be 20 degrees in February. Yet it was yesterday. February is meant to be the month when we suffer for all our Mallorcan sins. The month when the gods of the good times either go on strike or take themselves off on their own jollies to Dubai (or somewhere like that) and abandon us to cold, rain and probably snow and to a period of numbing non-activity.
There is an absence of anything to do in February. If Carnival, dictated to by Easter, is shoved out of February and into March, which is the case this year, then, apart from a desperate case being made for Saint Valentine and his day of love, there's nothing. It is the month of the fiesta downtime, a recovery month following the Anthonys and Sebastians of January. It is the month when eyes are turned skyward, though they are not actually looking at the sky and figuring out if there is indeed rain about to descend; they are looking at pine trees and at the growing coconut shy cocoons of the caterpillars and figuring out when they are about to descend, either by plunging to terra firma or by crawling in procession along the branches and down the trunks of their accommodating pines.
It is a month of pretend tourism, one brought about by the cycling teams, about to race around the island in their own peloton procession, all but attached to each other like the caterpillars but moving at considerably greater speed before some detach themselves and hurtle towards a finishing line with a controlled winner (or loser) wobble.
It is the month of drill, saw, grinder, crane and the entire toolkit of renovation and even some new building. The sounds are those of palm fonds (those that have been left since the beetle did its worst) being lashed by the winds, of dry leaves scurrying across neglected terraces and of the constructor's work. Activity there is - for the brickie. The coal heap of builder slag by the Sol Alcudia has gradually reduced and been transformed into the shell of all-inclusive expansion. The struts of the Waikiki have been infused for its reformation. Restaurants, like the Don Vito and Sa Gavina, have evacuated tables and chairs and temporarily introduced cement mixers. What was the amusement arcade opposite the Big Banana has become yet another supermarket. How many supermarkets can be needed in one small area of a resort? Several, it would appear. But all this activity suggests that someone must be doing ok. The economy is not the slag heap it is alleged to be. There seems to be a lot of work. Seems but maybe it is an illusion.
This is February. A strange month that might typically be one of despair. The mild weather - surely we'll suffer, for if we don't, the reservoirs and wells might run dry - suggests otherwise for once, and perhaps it is mild weather that brings with it a renewed optimism. A new spring is about to come.
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