First day of spring? Someone tell the weatherman!

By Sarah E. Reynolds | Mar 19, 2014

Everyone I know has had just about enough of winter. Cold weather, ice, snow, shoveling, sickness, short days, nothing to do, hauling wood – you get the idea.

Dwight, who sits behind me in the office, can't stop sniffling. Except when he explodes in a series of sneezes that sound like someone put pepper in his hankie. He's allergic to dust, he says. Doesn't sneeze outside, only inside. Fine. Great. So go outside, already.

Except I don't, and wouldn't, say that to him, because he's a good colleague, and allergies are miserable things, and it's just the ragtag end of winter making me crabby.

And how. With every snowflake that falls, every careful trip across the skating rink that used to be my driveway, I get a little more impatient for spring, a little less kindly disposed toward the lingering signs of w- w- – that cold season.

Some hardy folks actually appear to enjoy the months of sub-freezing temperatures. Take my brother Peter. He likes shoveling snow. Lucky him, he lives in New England too, so he has had plenty to shovel this year. In fairness, I think his enthusiasm may have waned for this year, but I expect he will be ready to whip out his shovel when the flakes begin to fly next November or so. His wife has begged him to hire someone to plow, but he won't let anyone else have all the fun. He does share with his two sons, to their delight, I'm sure.

Then, too, there are the skiers, skaters, snowmobilers and other crazies who just can't wait for the next snowfall to run out and freeze their tails off playing in the white stuff. At least our dogs have the excuse that they don't know any better. And it's good that they like it, because, well, dogs have to go outside.

I dimly recall enjoying winter as a child, when all I had to do was put on five layers of clothes, go out and throw a few snowballs or make a fort and then come back inside for hot chocolate. Snow angels were fun, too, as long as you were wearing the aforementioned five layers so you didn't get wet through. The layers made running a little awkward, but a fast waddle was perfectly adequate.

And of course there were snow days, an institution designed to make anyone who benefits from them fond of winter. A whole extra day to do what you wanted, instead of what someone told you to! This was true, parents notwithstanding, because your mother did not want you in the house on that snow day, getting underfoot while she was trying to clean or whatever. She wanted you to put on your five layers of clothes and go outside to make a snow fort. So the agendas of parent and child meshed pretty well, as long as there was hot chocolate within a reasonable amount of time.

Back then, I had no idea what kind of fuel we used for heat, never even thought about it. Fuel was cheap (not that the cost ever occurred to me), the house was always warm: wasn't that how it was supposed to be for everyone? If I helped my daddy shovel our short, paved driveway, it was only for as long as I felt like it. When it wasn't fun anymore, I went inside.

I had no worries about slipping, sliding, skidding or crashing in the car; I didn't drive, and since my childhood was spent in a small city, road maintenance was never a problem. Or maybe I simply did not know about the problems in the sheltered world my parents made for me and my brothers.

Perhaps that's my real problem with winter now: it is a constant, harsh reminder that there is nowhere to hide. Life dishes out problems to one and all, and we must use whatever resources we have to face them. Those resources include the help of friends, family and others, but it is still up to us to figure out what to do, and do it. Of course, since I am now the one making the hot chocolate, I get to decide for myself how many marshmallows to put in.

Still, right about now, I would trade any number of marshmallows for a week of sunny weather in the 40s.

Happy spring.

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