Spring has started to tease us

Spring is teasing, is peeking out from behind the snowdrifts, is pushing winter back from the edges of the road, is whispering at us.
“You’ll soon be up the lake,” it says and we try to resist, not wanting to be pulled into winter’s game. It’s not really spring. It’s winter in disguise, trying to fool us.
It is still February and we can’t let our guard down. There still is snow to be shovelled, windshields to be scraped, and bad roads to be maneuvered, but what a lovely hint of what is to come.
The problem with our changing climate, one of the problems with our changing climate, is nothing seems as gradual as I remember in terms of weather. Spring seems to last a half-hour now before we’re in full-blown summer. From the perspective of winter, that doesn’t seem so bad. But it is.
I liked the lingering of the changing seasons when I was a kid, playing in the water–the streams created by melting snow. Of winter giving up the fight–not with a fury but more of a slow, easy retreat.
I spent hours managing my water systems that eventually found their way to the river while I tried hard to stay dry; to keep the tops of my rubber boots above the water line.
I wasn’t always successful. In fact, I was seldom successful. Not for lack of trying, though.
There were a lot of spring rituals for me. Marbles and hopscotch played on any bit of bare sand we could find beside the school, our school, Alberton Central.
Tadpole hunting–a risky game considering how similar tadpoles are to mosquito larvae (it took us several missteps to figure out the difference). Mosquito larvae, for instance, have hairs on them and are light-coloured and hover in the water vertically, tails up for breathing. Tadpoles actually swim and are black.
We brought many pails of what we thought were tadpoles into our back porch only to discover our error afterwards. Learning the hard way.
It’s early yet to be dreaming of spring. There’s the inevitable wrestling match with mud that tests my stamina with “Gracie,” who seems determined to bring the outdoors in. But soon the frogs will be singing to me, the blossoms will be wiggling, the maple sap will be running, the water course beside me will be rushing, the grass will be growing.
And before I know it, I will be on the end of a lawnmower instead of a shovel. I think I prefer the lawnmower. In fact, I’m certain of it.
Spring is fickle. Winter is determined. But very soon we will have forgotten the burdens of winter; forgotten the icy sidewalks and the piles of snow at the end of the driveway impeding the view of oncoming traffic.
We will have forgotten the jackets zipped up tight to the neck and the scarf wrapped around and the mittens tucked under sleeves. We will have forgotten it all and think we will have new leaves and tulips and crocuses and songbirds forever.
They soon will become commonplace. But for now, I’m happy to be teased and given a preview of what lies ahead. I know this glorious sunshine will be replaced by angry snow clouds and blustering winds, but today I’ll let the sun shine on my face and be glad.
Maybe Mark Twain said it best: “In the spring, I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
He’s right, of course. It is, of course, the beauty of Canada.
wendistewart@live.ca

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