I hate spring.
My feelings are about as ambivalent as the weather here in Central Connecticut. Winter is my least favorite season, so it goes without saying that come the Vernal Equinox, I should be jumping for joy. The days are longer (Daylight Savings Time notwithstanding). There’s even a change in the quality of the light, warmer, brighter. Snow drops and crocuses, which often make their first anxious appearance in late February (only to disappear again and again under mountains of wet, heavy snow) are now blooming. Finally. Daffodils and irises are forming buds. Peonies are pushing up through the soil. At this time of year, the snow doesn’t linger very long. Still nights can get pretty cold, making for treacherous walkies when the doggie needs to go out for her “last whizz” before bedtime.
As T.S. Eliot said in The Waste Land, “April is the cruelest month.” Being a Taurus and April-born, I used to take exception to that bit. But, no longer. In recent years, it’s as if Mother Nature can’t make up her mind. I remember Aprils with summer-like heat—90+ degrees—and Aprils when it seemed as if Old Man Winter was having too much fun to step aside. This year is the latter.
Of Mark Twain’s famous adage, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait five minutes” he knew what he was talking about. He lived for a time in Hartford, not far from our home. Speaking of Twain, he also said the following:
In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours. It was I that made the fame and fortune of that man that had that marvelous collection of weather on exhibition at the Centennial, that so astounded the foreigners. He was going to travel all over the world and get specimens from all the climes. I said, “Don’t you do it; you come to New England on a favorable spring day.” I told him what we could do in the way of style, variety, and quantity. Well, he came and he made his collection in four days. As to variety, why, he confessed that he got hundreds of kinds of weather that he had never heard of before. And as to quantity—well, after he had picked out and discarded all that was blemished in any way, he not only had weather enough, but weather to spare; weather to hire out; weather to sell; to deposit; weather to invest; weather to give to the poor.
Come May, the weather should begin to settle down. We are gardeners here, grow veggies and herbs, some of the tender variety. So we wait until the last threat of frost is gone, usually by Memorial Day, at which time my husband optimistically opens the pool for the season. Some years we take a chance, if the temps are what we used to refer to as “seasonable” to plant our zucs and cukes, peas, tomatoes, and peppers a bit earlier. Alas, these early plantings are becoming a thing of the past.
Frankly, there is no such thing as spring in Connecticut of the kind I remember from childhood. We go from winter straight to summer. This always catches us off guard. One day we’re bundled in thermals and thick socks, boots and parkas, the next day we’re scrambling to find shorts, t-shirts and sandals.
My memories of spring from an earlier era are fond ones. My mother loved lilacs and planted them in a row along a rail fence in our yard. When ours bloom around Mother’s Day, the heavenly scent speaks to me in my mother’s voice. The colors of spring, that new green and the red and yellow casts around the maples and willows against an otherwise stark landscape make me nostalgic for my younger days when the seasons knew their place.
Kathy Fischer Brown is a BWL author of historical novels, Winter Fire, Lord Esterleigh's Daughter, Courting the Devil, The Partisan's Wife, and The Return of Tachlanad, her latest release, an epic fantasy adventure for young adult and adult readers. Check out her The Books We Love Authorpage or visit her website. All of Kathy’s books are available in e-book and in paperback from Amazon. Look for Where the River Narrows(Quebec), book 12 of the Canadian Historical Brides collection, with Ron Crouch, coming in July.