Earlier this week, word came down from Punxsutawney, PA that winter intends to loom large for another six weeks. I’m sure of this because my family considers Groundhog Day a viable holiday, doubtless because we’ve lost all hope that there’s anything else to look forward to. We sit around the living room, watching the returns come in from Punxsutawney with a fervor most Americans reserve exclusively for Election Night. We regard the Bill Murray/Andie McDowell flick celebrating same as a holiday special, anticipating the screening with the same enthusiasm bestowed on Frosty and Rudolph weeks earlier. This year, we even made three kinds of soup to insulate us against the lingering chill.
Today, these events seemed nothing but a distant memory, as temperatures soared into the 70s and it suddenly became easy to pretend that someone found the fast forward button on a calendar somewhere.
I’m solar powered entity-- any length of time without the sun, and I slip into a lethargic stupor. I’ve spent the past several days artificially propped up by nothing but caffeine and chocolate, so today’s sunburst was especially timely.
I raked away the patina of death enveloping my yard--bagged it right up and tossed it to the curb. I planted two raspberry plants, drinking in the smell of freshly overturned earth. I poked around flowerbeds and found new growth bursting through dry leaves. Cars were washed. Sidewalks weeded. I even got bug bites—-bug bites!—on my exposed feet.
I went along wholeheartedly with the ruse—because, of course, that’s all it really was. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for the mercury to hover around the 40s, which only goes to show the importance of savoring little pockets of spring wherever they can be found: a splash of color on a drab outfit, a dollop of sherbet after dinner, or a few minutes with a travel magazine in a patch of filtered sunlight, if that’s all you can manage.
Tomorrow I may wake up in the cold grip of winter, but my yard will look a little brighter, my skin will be a shade browner, and my spirits will be a bit stronger, because I’ve glimpsed the future, and it’s just below the surface, five weeks, now, around the corner.