Sunday, March 12, 2017

Spring! Or...Winter? Weather Whiplash, I tell ya...

When people ask me why Team WestEnders decided to relocate to North Carolina, one of the reasons I always cite is the fact that I was D-O-N-E with the long, shivery Winters, punctuated by frequent frozen precipitation--even though I acknowledge that it was only Maryland and not, say, Boston or (heaven forbid) Fill-In-The-Blank Town in any portion of the Midwest. So it cracked me up during our first two "cold seasons" in Chapel Hill when folks who'd been here much longer than us would lament that we were having "such a bad Winter!" To us, the typical pattern of freezing temps overnight, followed by daytime highs of 50-ish, felt not only completely tolerable, but even kind comparison to what we'd left behind.

After experiencing THIS January and February, however, I finally understand what everyone was trying to explain. I guess that "normal" Winters here in the Triangle also are supposed to include a generous sprinkling of 60-and-70-degree days...where it's so darn nice outside, you feel compelled to throw open the windows...even while the wee voice in the back of your mind goes, "Are you crazy? Look at the calendar! Now you'd better cut it out, or I'm telling Mother...Nature!" This is apparently what everyone meant, about how Winter is expected to behave.

And, don't get me wrong: it was possibly the most pleasant stretch between Fall and Spring that I've ever gotten to enjoy. I've got to admit, though, that it threw me a little bit. For one thing, I always buy one box each of Celestial Seasoning Candy Cane Lane and Nutcracker Sweet--my favorite HOT tea flavors--knowing that when it's time to switch to the iced variety (for which I use good old plain Lipton), they'll be gone. Um...except....not this year. And for the first time in...well...forever...none of us felt the need to put flannel sheets on our beds. Heck, the warm-blooded sons didn't even sleep under their comforters this year! And while we're on the subject of those heat producing organisms, I don't think they used their coats at all this Winter...okay, if we're being totally honest--they probably only stooped to wearing long pants a handful of times, either.

But then, just when you believe you got away with dodging an icy bullet--having a relatively warm season with only one minor weather event--March comes blustering in. Now, we'd also been told that, around here, March heralds the arrival of Spring...and I don't mean chronologically, since that happens at the same time for everyone, but rather, symbolically, on Day 1, when you turn the page on your calendar and (happily) leave February behind. The last 2 years, this has held true, with gentler weather bringing forth the daffodils and nudging the trees to begin blooming right around the first of the month. However, things seemed to get a the early warmth and sunshine we enjoyed in February, which caused the plants to just burst forth with buds and blossoms waaaay ahead of their usual schedule.

It was startling...and gorgeous...and sneezy, no doubt. In retrospect, I should have known the natural progression of things would be in disarray this year, when I was standing on the sidelines of a soccer field in February without even a jacket, basking in the rays. Then March showed up...and she's a little...ahem...frostier than we've come to anticipate. I don't know, perhaps she's miffed that February stole some of her thunder, or maybe she feels (like I do, actually) that we didn't truly SUFFER enough in the past few supposedly-harsh months to DESERVE such lovely conditions.

So yesterday's soccer match, in contrast, required several fleecy layers, topped with a coat, to stave off the biting wind and chilly temps. (I should have brought gloves, but stubbornly refused to do so...instead opting for the much tastier option of a steaming cup of coffee to coax sensation back into my hands...) And then, this morning, we woke up to this nonsense:
Granted, it was only a dusting of the white stuff...and what you see there is actually ALL that happened....and, okay, okay, it was kind of picturesque...but c'mon, March, REALLY? Hasn't anyone ever told you that flakes and flowers don't mix? I'm sorry that February upstaged you, but do us all a favor and get over yourself, so we can move on with Spring...'kay? Thankyouverymuch.

Of course, this being North Carolina, the scene was much different only a few short hours later, when the clouds had dissipated, the sun was out full-force, and, although the air was still a somewhat nippy mid-40s, the powdery coating had evaporated completely, as though it never existed. All of which makes me extremely grateful that I'm HERE, and not, say, in my old hometown, where I'm gathering from the outpouring of outrage on Facebook that they're gearing up for....a foot of frozen precipitation on Monday. I'm filled with an abundance of sympathy, believe me, but I'm also sooooooo happy to be living through that s...tuff....vicariously, these days! So I will raise a mug (or two or three) of hot tea to my friends and family...before I head outside to play...and maybe offer March a sacrifice to appease her mood? Hmm...I know, how about whatever tea bags I don't manage to drink my way through by the end of this week? A Spring!

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