Monday, March 07, 2011
It's a familiar March sight........melting snow running down Clark St. No matter how long the winter seems as it's going on, it always seems to end suddenly and unexpectedly. The ugliness of dirty snow, muddy water and pelting rain is met with enthusiasm and celebration. The huge drifts and freezing temperatures evaporate from our minds. The slippery roads and white-out weather conditions are forgotten. Last night my hands did not become stiff with cold as I worked at the computer, yet I didn't notice. As if the endless days of early dark, wind chill factors, and plans made with the admonition "depending on the weather" are already remote memories. The world changes so dramatically here, but we who live it year after year have adapted to it so well that each season exists only in the present. Winter disappears into Spring, Spring into Summer, Summer into Fall, and Winter comes again. We sit on the deck with cooling drinks, wearing shorts and T-shirts, well into the balmy evenings, then pull our light jackets out from the back of the closet, then our heavy coats, our hats, our gloves, and finally our boots. Now the Winter is dying and with amazing amnesia it will be forgotten. If we talk about it at all, it will only be to contrast it with the present, without emotion.
Adapting so readily to the extremes of the seasons here gives us a subtle appreciation of the cycles within cycles within cycles that constitute our lifetime. They measure our time here in a way that milder and less changeable climates do not. I've always thought that people who live in relatively consistent climates are much more relaxed about time. There's always tomorrow, they think. We can't count on tomorrow being like today. Better do it now.........