12 March 2014

Late Winter

Late winter. It’s a term and a time that we in Maine trudge through with a sigh on our lips. By mid March, the delight of seeing a soft snowfall is a distant memory. Now many of us groan at the sight of even a few flakes blowing about. In December, we dreamed of a white Christmas. In March, we’re peering at our yards, relieved when we see the snow melting into mud.

It’s funny how we play mind games with ourselves. Mainers know that the date on the calendar is irrelevant. Spring doesn’t come to even the southern-most parts of the state until well into April. Sometimes even May. Forsythias, those first heralds of spring, won’t begin budding for a least a month after the spring equinox.

Yet at this time of the year, before winter is even officially over, something changes in us. Maybe it’s daylight savings time and the sudden stream of sunshine falling through our windows at 5:00 p.m. A month ago it was pitch black at that time of day. Maybe it’s the leisurely yet continual snowmelt; it happens amidst persistent snowfall, but still, it happens. The snow-walls along the sides of the roads grow gradually smaller and much of the ice has melted off the driveways and sidewalks.

Whatever it is, we start to look forward. Maybe spring forward really is a thing. Garden catalogs are stacked on our coffee table along with magazines sporting flowers and summer-clad folks. Our heaviest coats are worn less and less as we opt for the lighter coats we wore in late autumn.

A snowstorm is forecasted tonight and tomorrow but I found myself shrugging it off. Unlike a February storm, a March snow finds us in the 30s or even 40s by the very next day. It won’t melt all at once, but we are finished with worrying about where we’re going to put yet another heavy snow. Nature has made room. We welcome it with a slight rising of the brows rather than scurry and worry.

Spring IS coming. See it there – in the distance? Not quite yet? Keep watching. It’s on its way.

Copyright © 2014 - Paulla Estes