Don’t you just love spring, when birds sing from every tree and crocuses bloom in colorful profusion, only to be coated with several inches of snow? The poor delicate blossoms wilt under the weight of winter encroaching on the rightful time for spring.
The Bible says, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Why can’t Mother Nature ever read the Good Book? Spring officially began on March 20, a month and a half ago by now. I had to shovel my driveway last weekend, on the day I had picked for the ice to go out in the Nenana Ice Classic. There’s a poetic injustice in that!
Spring in Juneau is the time when school kids go to the beach for Sea Week. Unlike my childhood excursions to the white sand beaches of Florida where we wore flip-flops and sunhats in a desperate bid for shade, a trip to the beach in Juneau normally requires rubber boots and a hefty raincoat, with a warm hat to keep off the inevitable rain. By Sea Week, however, kids shouldn’t have to contend with fresh snow along the tide line, and patches of ice in the tide pools.
Opening Day for Little League got postponed last weekend for fresh snow on the fields. Baseball is properly played in the halcyon days of summer — no one wants to slide into second base through a three-inch layer of snow.
In other news, the state of Alaska issued an emergency order extending the deadline for removing studded tires — for the second time this year. Instead of having to take them off on tax day, you now have until May 15. That’s tantamount to a governmental decree that winter will continue to plague us for the next two weeks, at which time there could be another extension. At this rate, we’ll still have our studs on for the Fourth of July parade. Meanwhile, the cruise ships are arriving like clockwork, luring us into thinking that warmer weather is on its way along with the summer tourists.
So what is it with this fixation for spring? We live in Alaska, after all. What’s wrong with snow lingering on into May?
My theory is that people have certain expectations and assumptions about what is normal. If you ask any preschooler, she’ll tell you that the sky is blue and grass is green and cows say moo. She may have never seen an actual cow in her life, but she knows its language. I’m guessing that our sky is gray more often than blue, except when it’s black in the middle of the night. But if a kid said the sky is gray or black, he might have to undergo a battery of psychological assessments to determine if he’s depressed or merely colorblind. The default color for the sky is blue.
Similarly, the default season of the year is summer. All the good stuff happens in summer. Flowers bloom and kids don’t have to go to school, and hot-rodders can drive around town in their convertibles with the top down. The grass really is green instead of being either brown or invisible under a mound of snow. Summer is the main event of the year.
So, since we’re all holding out for summer, when nature finally returns to normal, we feel cheated when winter takes up more than its fair share of the year. Winter should be allotted three months, and that’s all. Snow from October to April is just not fair. That’s seven months, not three. Winter should let spring have a turn.
We need to have a talk with Mother Nature. She needs to get her seasons to play fair and take turns nicely so no one feels left out. At this rate, spring and summer will have to share a measly four and a half months between them, while fighting off fall on the other side. That’s not fair, Mother Nature! Tell winter to give spring a turn.
Wait a minute. It’s 45 degrees outside right now, and rain is washing the snow off the crocuses. Maybe, just maybe, spring is on its way!
• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother and aspiring author. She likes to look at the bright side of life.