Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Past Deadline: Snippets of Spring

Spring can be tricky.

Do you remember that warm spell sometime back in March that teased us into spring coats and persuaded us to leave the long johns in the drawer? And then remember how it got frigidly cold again with that mean old wintry northwest wind making our cheeks smart and our eyes water?
And recall how hard it was to pull out the long johns again and wear the hat down over the ears and ease back into the winter coat?


It’s hard to know how to dress kids in that kind of weather.

Girlchild likes to wear dresses to school, and that is all well and good in cold weather when snowpants are the norm. When it’s not snowy enough for snowpants, but not warm enough for tights alone and you have a Diva who turns her nose up at splash pants (which, in my opinion, are the perfect compromise outerwear), things can be difficult.

Let me tell you, snowpants worn in the spring pick up a lot of dirt and sand from a winter’s worth of sidewalk plowing. If anyone needs a truck load of sand, I think you can find it in my kitchen. I should have been saving it all along to see if I could sell it back to the town for next year.

If you’re looking for another sign of spring, you’d better use your ears. I’ve been hearing it for the last couple of weeks. Spring peepers. When these teeny tiny chorus frogs emerge and start yelling for a mate, their high-pitched peeps can be louder than any freight train. I know the grass is always greener and some of those (arguably lucky) folks who live beside swamps or water bodies may feel the peepers are more irritating than joyful, but I love the sound.

Since the peepers had already announced the arrival of spring, it was with much disdain that I recently looked out my kitchen window into the backyard toward the little patio we had set up last summer to see it still completely encased in ice. See, the nice thing about the patio is that for a good chunk of the day it is shady, which is great news in the summer. In spring, though, that means it is literally the very last part of the backyard to thaw out.

I even tried to hurry the season along by grabbing my long-handled ice chipper and hammering the snot out of the thick layer of ice one day. I made some progress – getting far enough across the ice field to expose nearly half of the patio stones – but my arms vibrated for the rest of the night and my hands actually ached for two days from gripping the handle so tightly.

I tried to go at it the next day, too, but my upper body said, “Woman, knock it off. We have sun and rain coming to take care of this. Let go of that ice chipper or we will stage a bloody coup, just like your hair wants to.”

(Ahem. You had to be there.)

So now, thanks to elbow grease, sun and rain the patio is free of ice and awaits the Great Clearing of Debris and Dirt™. This will happen in my Spare Time™. Hahaha. Little joke there.

But – this all sounds an awful lot like too much complaining. Really, I am so glad it is warmer. It is so nice to see the robins and the summer birds returning and to hear their mating songs.

As awkward as it is to have to negotiate winter gear and spring gear as they all congregate together in small spaces, it’s nice to see rubber boots instead of winter ones and ball caps instead of toques.

At this time of year as the sun brightens and gleams through spotty windows and illuminates previously gloomy spots, I make the annual list of things to clean and sort and fix.

You know what that means – I think I am almost caught up to Spring Cleaning 2007 now....

Published in The Perth Courier, April 14/11.

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