Spring, at last

Mar. 19, 2014 @ 04:23 PM

At 12:57 p.m. today, spring arrives.  As if on cue, the temperature, Accuweather predicts, will be 61 degrees, heading toward a high of 65 that will be just above normal for the day.

We suspect we speak for nearly everyone reading this in saying, “it’s about time.”

Ernest Hemingway may have evoked our area’s recent sensibilities in his “A Moveable Feast.” He was writing of Paris, but the sentiments are familiar here these days:

“With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. … When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason. 
“In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.” 
Granted, we’re moaning because our recent cold, wet, damp, icy weather has been in the waning days of winter, not the early days of spring. But this is Piedmont North Carolina – we expect spring-like weather once the calendar turns to March.

To make our endless winter seem even more so, forecasters tell us that the warm, sunny afternoons we can expect through the weekend take yet another nasty turn early next week. Lows are expected to graze 30 and highs won’t get out of the 50s.

To be sure, the advent of spring here, with its message of rebirth and rejuvenation, is overshadowed by another ritual. Need we note that less than an hour before spring officially arrives, Ohio State and Dayton will tip off in the first game of the Round of 64, the true opening salvo of the madness that is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Last year, on Super Bowl Sunday, the host of National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” news quiz show felt a need to jokingly interrupt a riff about that day’s big game. The Super Bowl, he felt compelled to explain to the NPR audience, “is an event that will occur while you are watching ‘Downton Abbey.’” That echoes how the basketball tournament overshadows not just the equinox but pretty much everything else here.

For the next few days, we may not notice the weather since we’ll be reverentially huddled around our televisions or at least slyly glancing at our phones every few minutes as routine business plods on. 

But when the tournament is over, we can finally celebrate this season of new beginnings.  Uncover the grills, admire the blooming flowers, break out the walking shoes and relish the surging bounty of fresh produce soon to flood our farmers’ markets.

The wait for spring has been especially trying. Surely that means we deserve to enjoy it all the more.