2018-04-19 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

So where’s spring?


Phil Foley — Staff Writer Phil Foley — Staff Writer What the heck? It’s mid- April; the temperature is hovering in the low 30s; and snowflakes are dancing past my window.

The weather service tells me spring began a month ago, but I’ve seen no evidence of this.

Crocus and grape hyacinth should be popping up across my yard, but over the weekend it was encrusted in ice and snow. Skunk cabbage and buttercups should be pushing their green shoots from the ooze on the edges of the wetlands, but all I see are the snapped over remains of last season’s cattails.

Monday looked more like January 106 than it did the 28th day of spring.

I am beginning to suspect I may have died some weeks ago and I am actually in hell. While most people subscribe the traditional image of hell — all fire and brimstone with a bunch of guys in scarlet flameretardant Dr. Dentons skipping around with pitch forks — I take a more Dantean view.

In his Divine Comedy, Dante wrote that hell was divided into nine circles and the lowest worst circle of hell, the ninth, was frozen. I believe he was right.

I hate being cold. The only think I dislike more than being cold is being cold and wet. So, I suspect, early spring must be hell, or at least it’s fringes. I’ve often thought that duck hunting is, at best, some form of purgatory.

I’m not great fan of winter. But it is, at least, relatively dry. You can brush the snow from your coat. And there are things you can do in the winter — ski, ice fish, hang out in museums and theatres.

Early spring, I believe, is far worse. At morning coffee everything is frozen solid and by noon the yard is the consistency of yesterday’s oatmeal. Spring rain is the worst. Its icy fingers creep to your spine, sucking the life out of you.

In a perfect world, I would have found a job that put me on Michigan’s peninsula from Memorial Day to Labor Day and someplace subtropical the rest of the time.

I love Michigan’s summers. But the older I get, the shorter they seem to last. Summer last year seemed to run for 45 minutes on Aug. 10.

The weather forecasters are saying the mercury will climb to the low 50s by week’s end and the low to mid 60s by the beginning of next week. I really want to believe that, but I’ve less faith in weather forecasts than campaign promises.

I want to believe spring will come, with its flowers and the smell of warm earth. I really do.

But for the moment, I remain convinced that I’ve died and gone to hell.

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