It might as well be Spring

I have not yet seen a crocus nor a rosebud or even a robin on the wing, but it appears that spring is here. Spring is a season that struggles with its identity. Unlike fall, which flaunts its brand of changing leaves and crisp nights, spring always has one leg on the dock and the other on the boat (or more accurately, one leg on the dock and the other on the receding ice flow), not sure where to land. And we all know how well that works out. Case in point: yesterday was well above zero. Today is a cold weather alert. On the sunny side of the street melt water streams into the drains. On the north side, glaciers jealously protect their shrinking real estate. Once you think the parka and snow boots can safely be retired, the inevitable March blizzard laughs in your general direction.

My particular coping mechanism for the fickleness of spring is expiry dates. For example, I just bought some eggs with a best before date of April 25. Surely that’s proof that April will come and even go. If you really want to live vicariously through the longevity of your food, buy bacon. I am pretty sure I saw some packages that claim to be hale and hearty well into May.

Another strategy I use is to start compiling the cottage provisions for opening weekend. Nothing says ‘the ice has to go out sooner or later’ more than a few canvas bags packed with mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, and cans of tuna, waiting by the back door. Every time I trip over them, after I am finished swearing, I am reminded of the hope that spring will get its act together some time this year.

Of course spring has good reason to be so reluctant to establish its full presence. Because once it is here – that day or two – it is immediately gone. The spring green of new leaves lasts merely a nanosecond. The spring flowers struggle to break through the hard mud and bloom for minutes before the squirrels bite their heads off or the sudden blast of a 20 degree day wilts their petals.

As I was walking home from yoga the other night I saw the first star emerge from the twilight. Okay, not really a star, more likely Venus, but I digress. I was stopped at the light, waiting to cross the street. “Star light, star bright.” I said to myself. And I guess I said it out loud because the woman on the sidewalk next to me gave me a dirty look. I know you aren’t supposed to talk to strangers but I couldn’t help but repeat the rhyme “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight”, which only increased the depth of her scowl. “I can’t see it”, she said. “Maybe you are in the way”.

But who am I to judge a lack of ability to enjoy a simple pleasure of witnessing the sky reveal itself one star at a time (with apologies to the Tragically Hip)? Perhaps that’s the story of her life. Others are always in the way of something. And spring is always, always, always in the way of summer.

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