Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring Awakening

Spring is usurping Winter’s territory.

Two weeks ago, our lawns were covered with piles of shoveled snow. The roads were matte white with salt. It was too cold to stay outside for long, even when wearing a thick winter coat and gloves.

Today, it was over sixty degrees, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. Even the most stubborn piles of snow and ice relented and disappeared. I caught sight of the first green of daffodils poking up in my back garden.

I will say, it’s a nice change. I could actually wear something other than bulky sweaters and trousers to work today. My coat was a lighter one than usual. The puppies are spending much longer outside than they have been and are having the best time playing and tussling in the balmy air.

It’s no surprise or secret that I love snow. I blog about it far too often but I do love it. However, I also love Spring. I love the creeping greenness that begins to take over the gloom and spreads until the lawns are a carpet of new grass and the trees are a haze of new leaves. Normally, Spring doesn’t get her due- Summer greedily pushes in with her humidity, dry earth and heat. All of a sudden, it’s not longer time to plant but, instead, time to maintain things that you’ve planted. The weeding you intended to do isn’t finished but it’s too hot outside to do much for long periods. So, despite my love of Winter and her snowy magic, I’m quite happy if Spring starts a little earlier this year. I’ve been very fortunate and have had lots of snowy days this winter. If I didn’t get any more, I’d still be satisfied.

I know it’s too early to celebrate the change of the seasons. Calendar-wise, Spring isn’t due for another month. However, these days, whether it’s global warming or just the evolution of the earth, the seasons seem a little different these days. Summer seems a little hotter. Winter doesn’t seem quite so cold.

When we first moved to the States, I remember days when the wind chill was 30 below and they cancelled school because it was too cold to be exposed to the air. Now, it seems that it just doesn’t get that cold anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still frigid but it lacks that Antarctic slap of cold that I remember. I know in England, their seasons have changed a little too. It used to stay mostly in the 70’s during the summer. Sometimes, it would climb into the ‘80’s but not frequently. When we’d go to the beach, we’d wear our swimming costumes with a towel over us as we shivered. The ocean was freezing but after a while, we adjusted and it started to feel warm. Yet when we weren’t swimming, we’d often be covered with goosepimples because it wasn’t really warm enough to be at the beach but, well, we wanted to be and it was summer and that’s what you did.

Now, for the past few summers, it’s been downright hot there. Last summer, our relatives were complaining of it being in the ‘90’s. There isn’t much air conditioning in England so I can only imagine how unbearable that felt. Winter too has evolved. We used to maybe get one or two snowfalls a year in the UK. Sometimes, it’d be deep enough to build a snowman but not terribly often. This year, they had a massive snow/ice storm that stranded people at airports, kept people stuck inside their homes and pretty much crippled the southern part of the country.

So, I think it’s true that the climate is evolving, at least in the evidence I see. Thus, following this logic, I think it might actually be ok that Spring is spreading her wings over our part of the world and making us forget the dreariness of winter. It’d be ok if she stayed, too. It would give us longer to plant and get our gardens ready and give us more flowers.

It’s easy to forget the dark days of winter when the world is blah and grey, there’s only cold and damp, no snow to make things seem even remotely magical when the sun is shining and you can throw your head back, soak up the sun and enjoy the warm breeze on your cheek.

Of course, despite the fact that I say it’s ok if Spring stays, the truth is that she’s still treading on Winter’s territory and, at any time, Winter can stand up and take control again. Granted, it would be the type of control that an ousted leader who is waiting to be replaced has but nevertheless, she has the right.

Still, for now, we have a taste of Spring and even if Winter edges her way back in, it’s going to lack the oomph that she had before because we now know that no matter what she throws at us, it’s only a short while before her time is up and she has to step back and let Spring have her say for good.

I, however, don’t mind if Spring borrows a few of Winter’s days. It’s a nice change and change can be a very good thing indeed.

Happy Thursday

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