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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A Few Thoughts on the Rudeness of March Snowstorms

"Winter is nature's way of saying
"Up Yours."
--Robert Byrne

Copyright ©2014 by Ralph Couey

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with snow.  When it first falls in November or December, I welcome its artistry, if for no other reason to cover up the dull brown of late fall.  Snow is expected, in fact desired around the holidays, and through the long dark tunnel of January and February.  But when March rolls up, I don't think its unreasonable to begin to look for some breaks in the weather.  Now, I don't live in Syracuse, Duluth, or Billings, where snow probably falls up through Memorial Day weekend.  I have chosen to live in more temperate climes.  After the Snowmageddon winter of 2010, Virginia enjoyed three years where actual winter weather was rare.  This year, however, winter made a return appearance.  Snow totals are up, not as high as 2010, but the thing that has made this year so hard to bear has been the unremitting cold.  

I'm older and my circulation is not what it once was, so I'm much more sensitive to the cold than in the past.  So this endless day-after-day cycle of frigid temperatures has the effect of wearing a person down.  Now, we have had a few days where the sun shone and the mercury soared into the 60's but that tease was immediately followed by another long stretch of cold.  Also, I ride a motorcycle and am regularly afflicted with what we riders call PMS, an acronym which stands for Parked Motorcycle Syndrome.  I am, by nature, a cautious rider, so even on warm winter days, the collection of sand, salt, and cinders on the roads makes riding a more dicey proposition.

Today, another large storm passed through this area, the second large one in a couple of weeks, this one dumping some 8 inches of fresh powder.  Once again, we left the warm sanctuary of the house to join our neighbors in shoveling.  I've never liked shoveling snow; and as I get older, I like it even less.  I'm beginning to understand the attraction seniors have for places like Orlando and Phoenix.  Soon it will be time for me to decide which I dislike more.  Oppressive heat and humidity, or shoveling snow and persistent cold.

Meteorology is an inexact science at best.  I get that.  But since I don't live in the frozen tundra, I really expect that when March arrives, winter needs to leave.  It's like that annoying house guest, who after you pack their bags and put the luggage on the front steps, they ignore the hint and just take everything back inside.  Winter, we are officially done with you.  It's time for you to leave.  The lease is revoked, the contract is complete, your play has closed.  

Spring training has started, and I'm listening to baseball games played under sun and in warmer air.  I know that the regular season will start in just a few weeks.  But I'm beginning to wonder if Moms Nature fails to understand how important it is for spring to get here.

The day the Lord created hope
was probably the same day
He created Spring.
--Bernard Williams

After enduring such a long and seemingly endless winter, our hope has begun to wane.  We need spring, I think much more than nature is willing to give it to us.  Spring is the symbolic rebirth in the meadows and forests.  It is also such within the human heart.  Perhaps it is the effort of getting through winter, forcing ourselves out into those cold, cold mornings day after day, that makes the return of spring such an emotional event.

Seasons always change, irrespective of our impatience.  Eventually, even a winter such as this one will slink back into its cave, defeated by the warm sun and gentle rains that must follow.

We all look for those first signs of spring.  The first robin, the first flower, that moment when a man regards his lawn and decides it needs to be mowed for the first time.  

Intellectually, we know that seasons will change.  Emotionally, though, its hard to wait, especially when seeming eternity delays the inevitable.

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