A friend of mine went crazy around mid-February.
She started telling everyone who would listen — and even those who wouldn’t — that spring had hatched. Now it’s true that our groundhog never saw his shadow.
And it’s also true that over the last month the temperatures have been hanging out on the upside of zero as often as the downside and we haven’t had so much as a flake of snow. Still, it seemed like a pretty reckless leap of faith to decide that spring had sprung.
After all, you don’t live in Canada without inheriting a few superstitions about the weather. If you wash your car it will rain, if you store the parkas and the snow shovel winter will come shrieking back during the night. And if you whisper about spring in February you’re doomed to spend March and April and possibly a good part of May wallowing about in your snow boots.
My friend refuses to believe in any of that. She says that it rains even when she hasn’t washed the car and it snows even when she forgets to pack away the parkas.
She points out that she has spent parts of almost every March, April and May wallowing about in snow boots no matter what has been said about spring’s arrival. She has decided that she would rather believe in the positive and be disappointed once in awhile, than to always believe in the negative and be granted the odd pleasant surprise.
With a rather maniacal look in her eye she shouted, “No more of this ‘Ooh, March came in like a lamb so it’s going out like a lion’ mentality for me! If it roars at me in a few weeks, well so be it. In the meantime I am going to enjoy hanging out with the lamb.”
Clearly winter has left her mad as a March hare. But I guess that’s the risk you take when you live this far north. And yet . . . what would it hurt to say spring is here? Maybe not to everyone you meet like my poor, mad, friend but maybe just to me. And in a whisper. Spring is here.
Yeah, that feels pretty good. And why not say it? Why not live in the moment instead of always living with fear and trepidation of what may or may not be ahead? So many things that make us crazy with anxiety today we find to be totally unfounded in the light of tomorrow.
Spring is here. Wow. It gets better each time I say it! Spring is here. Spring is here. Spring is here! You know what? Maybe my friend’s not such a mad hare after all. What could possibly be wrong with having spring in your step, spring in your heart and spring on your lips? Who knows? Maybe the sheer warmth of all those patriotic Canadian hearts glowing after winning all those Olympic gold medals has brought spring early to our beautiful country.
By the time I ran into another acquaintance I had moved way beyond reconsidering my friend’s level of madness and whispering to myself about the possibility of winter being over. I was in the throes of spring fever.
“Spring is here!” I told him.
First he frowned and then he smirked. “Have you never heard the expression if March comes in like a lamb it’s going out like a lion?”
“Spring is here.” I repeated, a bit more firmly this time.
“I remember the year there was still snow on the ground in June. And I’ll never forget when the trees didn’t even bud out until it was almost July. Another time it snowed a foot in August. A foot! In August!”
“Spring,” I replied, “is here.”
As I walked away I could hear him shouting, “We’re going to pay for this bit of nice weather, just
you wait and see! Spring? This isn’t spring, not by a long shot. There’s plenty of winter left in the pipes, you mark my words!”
But I don’t care. I’ve marked his words, and graded them a big fat F with a red pen. For me spring has sprung and that’s all there is to it. It might turn out to be the longest, coldest, snowiest spring we’ve ever had, but it’s still going to be spring just the same.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can read more of Shannon’s writing at www.shannonmckinnon.com