Spring is only days away. After a mild winter, we got slammed by a late-season blizzard and, by the way we are whining about the cold and snow, you’d think that we’ve been trapped in the deep-freeze for months. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that spring had planned this all along.
The week before the blizzard, temps here hit sixty degrees. Snow storms this season have been few and far between. Even so, a big March storm is enough to get our hackles up, to send us digging for outerwear that we haven’t needed yet this year and to make us yearn, ever-so-pathetically, for the coming of spring.
I’ve written a lot about spring, its joys, its foibles, its coquetry. When you live in New England (and have spent thirty years teaching Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton’s no-way-out testament to the bleakness of the New England winter), you get a little touchy when the weather plays with your head.
The slightest spring tease will get us going. This year, spring started teasing us in January—a few sunny days, rain instead of snow, warmer than normal temperatures. By February, I still hadn’t worn the new, snuggly, ultra-warm hat and scarf that I crocheted for myself and my warmest, furriest, heaviest jacket had not yet emerged from the closet. Boots? Still in the basement. Then, just when I thought we were out of the woods, just when the clock gave us that coveted extra hour of daylight and the calendar started to make promises, just when Cadbury eggs reappeared at CVS and pastel dresses materialized at the mall, that’s when spring decided, firmly and without remorse, to leave the building.
Snow flew, winds ripped, roads were impassable and schools in my town were closed for two days.
So now, a few days later, after an agonizing winter of almost-but-not-quite spring, we wait. We wait for the snow to melt, for the temps to rise, for the earth to tilt just so on its axis and for spring to return to New England. It is coming. But it has to make an entrance, diva that it is. And to do that, it has to disappear completely for at least a little while to, you know, create demand. It knows just what it is doing, how to manipulate emotion, generate applause, guarantee devotion. Over the years it has teased us, tormented us and bullied us into submission. It has frustrated us, angered us, offended us. But it has never, ever failed us.
At least, not yet.
[Ah Spring! I can’t help writing about that little vixen.You can find a whole section of essays about spring and how it torments New Englanders in Saving Our Lives: Volume Two—Essays to Release the Writer in YOU. ]