We’ve suffered enough by now, don’t you think? The snowstorms every three days, the weeks of sub-zero temperatures and brutal winds, the ice storms and dastardly conditions.
Winter is my least favorite season. Like many people, it’s not so much the cold as it’s the wind and the snow and the combination of staying inside the house as much as possible because of how much we hate it. And shoveling. Oh, Lord, do I hate shoveling.
But then spring comes — well, usually for about five days, all of which are randomly scattered across a six-week stretch from March through April.
When those spring days show up — you know the ones, sunny, light breeze, 65 degrees, snow is gone and the grass is green with the trees in early budding form — it reminds you of summer and you just as quickly forget all the horror that was the winter. “It’s not so bad,” you say to yourself. “If we survived winter this year, we can survive it any year.”
Everyone marks the end of winter differently. Is the snow gone? Has the average high temperature finally risen above 40 for more than a week? Have we hit the spring equinox?
I mark the end on a whim. Usually, when I have had completely enough of it, I say to myself (and my kids) that winter is over and spring is here. Maybe spring seems like winter? Well, it’s still spring in my book, even if it’s March 4 and there is snow and ice littered around my driveway and sidewalk and the wind chill is minus 13.
March 4 is the day I was finally fed up with winter this year. For me, we are now in spring. All of my anger toward the weather will now be directed at spring, as my box of complaints on winter is full. Imagine my box as full as Dwight Schrute’s box of complaints on Jim in The Office. Well, maybe that’s a bad comparison, because Jim is cool. But imagine if the box was just as full, but instead of Jim it was, say, Jan. Or Toby. Or Kelly. Or whichever Dunder Mifflin employee you might have despised on that show.
On March 4 I completed a very long weekend work stint, covering prep basketball games, writing stories, designing the state preview section and the March 6 edition of the Times all at once. I was exhausted. I needed sleep. I needed to turn the page emotionally.
When I left the office, it was bitterly cold and windy. I got home just before midnight and hadn’t eaten in nearly 36 hours. But instead of grabbing a granola bar, or pouring a bowl of cereal, I grabbed my last Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter from my fridge. It’s my go-to winter beer, and to be honest, probably my favorite domestic brew of them all. I sat down on the couch in the candlelight, turned my phone off, closed my eyes and spent 15 minutes enjoying a well-earned adult beverage.
Then I picked myself up and went to bed for the night. I didn’t eat until the next afternoon — Fat Tuesday — where my wife and I each had shrimp and soup at Pancho and Lefty’s on the square.
It was a well-deserved 24-hour break from the end-of-season stress at work.
That vanilla porter closed my book on winter perfectly. From the delicious food that followed, to this weekend’s closing of the girls basketball season and the time change, I feel like this is a good start to spring.
The sun will stay out an extra hour, and I like seeing sunlight when I walk out of work in the afternoon. Sure, for one day I lose an hour of sleep, but that hardly matters given how I lose an hour of sleep every day because my kids are too young to drive themselves to school.
And the temperature will rise again. I truly believe it will. And then the snow will melt, the grass will grow, the trees will bud. I can get the bikes out of the garage, take an afternoon walk with the baby and go to the diamond to hear the clink of the bat on a ball, and the thump of a pitch hitting a mitt.
Spring is here already in spirit. We all just might as well embrace it. Because, let’s be honest, outside of December we all hate winter, and pretending it’s the early days of spring might just be that boost we need to make it through to the end.
— Adam Krebs is a reporter for the Times and is investigating the cost of installing a geothermal sidewalk that will melt the snow and ice without shoveling or spreading salt. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.