I’ve been contemplating this little short bit of prose for the past week or so, and thought I’d go ahead and share it.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever goes back and checks on the Groundhog, to check whether his famous forecasts are really all that accurate. I often think about this in March, when it’s been six weeks or more since the coddled marmot’s eponymous day. Sometimes my thoughts go in unusual places. How many people give the groundhog a second thought this far out from February 2nd?
I most recently thought about the groundhog in mid-March. We had a few uncharacteristically cold mornings that had followed a warm and sunny weekend. As I was on the way to stop by the pet food store to pick up a refill on Shasta’s favorite meal before making the long trek to work, I noticed the tiny white flecks that swirled in the air and pelted my windshield light the lightest, coldest of rains. Snow flurries in March! Not the first time I’ve seen that, but in my part of the country, it still seems a bit out of the ordinary.
It was the last gasp of a dying winter. The days were warming. Over the past week, I’ve watched and wondered as the world around me sprouted, like clockwork. Walking Shasta to the dog park under trees that look like nothing so much as pink and purple and white puffy clouds, so covered in tiny flowers they were. It’s the same everywhere you turn. I live in a long-established neighborhood in a small craftsman-style bungalow. Trees line the sidewalks. Here and there are small parks with bigger, older trees, but most of the trees on the walks are younger, and their exuberant flowering is the surest sign of their youthful optimism.
They’re full of life. Full of hope for the future. Hope for a warm, wet, rainy summer and long days of sunshine and thick green leaves. It’s hard not to get caught up in the wild longing for Spring and new beginnings, in those moments out about the neighborhood with Shasta and with Dear Wife. There’s no reason not to get caught up. There are problems and challenges for another day, but in that moment, with Spring blooming from every bud, there is no need for problems and unhappiness. There is only need for laughter and singing.
I’ve been lucky so far. My allergies haven’t really been acting up this year. They’ve been waning in the past few years, growing dimmer. Sometimes my eyes still itch and water (especially in Fall, when the pines paint the world in yellow pollen), but the sneezing and wheezing and stuffiness feel like a thing of the past. I have my theories why.
In these moments, I wonder. How would I describe this? I would I write about the Spring? What would my characters say, or think, or feel when they see the world coming back to life with soft pastels and pale greens? What does it mean, in the context of their stories, and their challenges, and their adventures? Or is their no Spring where the live?
I don’t know. But when it’s this nice outside, I don’t need to know. At least, not until it rains, or I feel the longing to sit down and write building up inside me again.