By Andrew Hawes — Sr. Warden
So here we are in February, the shortest month of the year, and I am sure that you are all still just as strongly resolved to make those changes in your life as you were last month when the year started....or perhaps not, but at least you tried.
Either way, time marches on! February being short is usually a good thing, I think- in colder climes than ours, it is often a harsh and cold month, full of ice and snow, and generally unappreciated. Having it give way as soon as possible to March, with its promise of forthcoming spring, is no bad thing.
That being said, I think February has its good points. Our annual Crab (and now shrimp!) Feed is one of them!
Being a cold and wintry month, it is an excellent month to stay inside and work on practicing our ritual, as well! Study helps us to strengthen our minds, as exercise helps us strengthen our bodies, and learning our Masonic ritual as perfectly as we can is something that requires study, it does not happen by itself. It is part of what we do as Masons to improve ourselves- learning -and understanding- our ritual is part of making ourselves better men, and should be an essential part of our regular routine.
As a lodge, we are forging further into our future, with several of our newer members doing their proficiencies, and looking to advance to the next degree of masonry, to further themselves on their masonic paths. I am reminded of a riddle involving February: "How many months have 28 days?"
The answer, for anyone unfamiliar with it, is "All of them!"
This seems like an amusing joke at first, but I think if we dig deeper into it, we can take from it an important lesson, which is that accurate communication is the key to mutual understanding and agreement. None of us would hesitate to give this answer if prompted with the question: "How many months have AT LEAST 28 days?" It is instead the lack of clarity in the question, leaving the listener to fill in the blank with "exactly" that leads to the riddler's intended trick- "why, only February!" is a not infrequent response, and is in fact correct, under the mistaken assumption that the questioner wants to know how many months have No MORE than 28 days.
Thus, the lesson is: By carefully considering the questions we are posed, and answering them thoughtfully, we can all be more sure to give the answer to the intended question.