The news headlines have been grim, the weather is dismal and there are no sports worth watching in February. We need to counteract this gloom and doom with some warm thoughts.

Next time, you’re pulling on your heavy gloves and picking up the snow shovel, think back to the midsummer softball tournament where no one wears gloves and everyone has to try a steak taco.

When you’re cursing the early evening darkness, think of the people who live their lives in darkness and how Forest Park’s Progress Center teaches the blind to navigate our streets.

If you read about how Forest Park has one of the hundred worst nursing homes in the country, think of the Forest Park families who treat their aged relatives with dignity and make sure they enjoy their final years at home.

Is the west wind painfully freezing your brain? You might experience these same symptoms this summer at Brown Cow’s expanded location, but at least it will be self-induced.

Tired of politicians calling and solicitors ringing-remember the time the doorbell rang and your neighbor brought over brownies that were still warm.

While you’re scraping the ice off your windshield, imagine you’re scraping off the back yard grill after cooking a mess of chicken.

When you’re bundling up in layers of clothing, think of the day you’ll be able to wear only one layer while walking to the pool.

If the sun does decide to peek out, keep your gaze above the tree line and you can pretend it’s July.

While you’re sprinkling salt on the sidewalk, keep in mind it won’t be long before we’re sprinkling grass seed on the parkway.

Our newest weather aberration is “thunder snow,” but it sounds just like a summer storm.

Sure, we miss our neighbors during the winter but what could be more comforting on a snowy morning than to hear your friend from down the block snow blowing your sidewalk.

If we do slip on the icy sidewalk and break an ankle-like I just did-we can at least pretend it happened on the slopes of Aspen.

If your kids are bouncing off the walls from boredom, take comfort from the fact they’re signed up to follow the bouncing ball on the soccer and baseball fields.

Instead of dwelling on the potholes in our streets, think of the potluck meals we’ll enjoy at our block parties this summer.

Those are the thoughts that warm us most. The times that our friends and neighbors show they care. Organizations like the Community Center and the Park District prove that Forest Park has a heart. So, no matter how cold our climate is, human warmth will get us through February, even if it does have an extra day this year.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.