Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's Hard About "Thinking Spring"

Today is Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  –Anne Bradstreet

You can make yourself miserable wishing and hoping for spring, especially if you live above the 40th parallel in the Northern Hemisphere.  All the pictures of spring show green grass, trees in full blossom, leaves budding on trees, tender green shoots breaking ground, baby animals, and delicate buds of flowers.   

What actually happens here is that snow takes its sweet time to melt, and the ice melts during the day and re-freezes at night, creating extremely hazardous black ice.  What snow is left is mixed with sand and dirt, what we call black snow.  The roads are gritty with leftover sand and salt, and the lines and markings are faded. Trees don't blossom and grass doesn't green up until mid-May.  Flowers don't do very well outdoors until late May or early June. Birds seem to take their time migrating back to their homes in the north, too. The ones who come back early must wish they hadn't when we have those late-season blizzards and ice storms.

The snow that falls in late winter and early spring is heavy and wet, not like the powder snow that falls in mid-winter, when the temperatures are low.  Heavy snow is hard to shovel because it's, well... heavy.  The wind is wet and raw, and the skies are often overcast in late winter and early spring.  The ground is soft, wet and muddy from the snowmelt.

So no, the earth doesn't really end up looking very springlike until, well... summer, actually.  Seriously.  By the time June 20 or 21 rolls around, we finally have spring, which has probably lasted only a couple of weeks. Then we get right into summer, no waiting around.  

By the calendar, it's 15 days to spring.  By the view outside my window, it's still winter.  One of the groundhogs forecasted six more weeks to spring, but it's been about five weeks already, and spring is nowhere in sight.  Here in the north, we will have to make allowances for cold nights and snowstorms for another month to six weeks.  Rather than make myself miserable about how long it takes spring to arrive, I will have to steel myself to the cold and snow for a little while longer, and just enjoy the occasional 50-degree warmth whenever it occurs.  At least the sun is rising earlier in the morning and setting later at night.  Thank God for that!   :-)

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