Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring has yet to sprung

I know, stop whining...but when your wedding anniversary's the classic date of the vernal equinox, and it still feels like the North Pole around here, whaddya want?

Snowflakes flying earlier this morning under a blue sky reminded me that we take nothing - I mean nothing - for granted in New England. My sister's been buried in serious snow in central New Hampshire for eons, it seems, so yes, I am really whining when the ground is still dry here. Being in San Diego for a few days did not help, in spite of the gorgeous sunshine and colorful flowers there. I met a wonderful local lady who organizes New Year's Day events in her neighborhood. She described their bicycle ride to the beach and then their "historical/hysterical" tour where she leads about 100 people around their little area. All I could picture were parkas and Chapstick. Then I remembered there are no such things in southern California, not ever.

It was all quite cheerful but coming back yesterday afternoon to glowering skies, just-above-freezing temps and a shredded driver's-side windshield wiper smearing gunk across my line of vision as I meandered out of the airport and onto the Mass Pike just made the contrast more glaring. There is not a bud swelling on a tree or shrub that I can perceive. Lawns are dank and khaki-colored and detritus swirling in the March winds has snagged in bushes and on median strips, adding clutter to the harsh landscape. This morning's bright blue skies gave way to a tiny flurry and persisted in fooling most to venture outside for the light, only to be driven back indoors by the severity of the chill.

I missed the Flower Show this year, so I'm sure I have brought down the curse of never-ending winter on the land. This is probably the first time in a decade I haven't ventured to South Boston to pay a small ransom to be sprung from my winter prison into the intensely flavored, colored, odored simulation of Spring that this event provides. I missed the sharp scents of pine, cedar mulch and soil that mark this fantasy, and even more the saturated colors of every kind of blooming thing that fits under the roof of the Bayside Expo Center. Every year, we ooh and aah over the creative minds and feats of logistics and engineering that allow this thing to be. "There're your jonquils," I whisper to my mother when I spot their bright nodding heads in a verdant patch. She nudges me back when she spots English daisies, or a particularly pleasing herb garden display, or a bonsai exhibit. I'm also fond of fruits and vegetables worked into artful displays. We work our way around each juried exhibition of flower arrangements and try to guess the theme before we read the cards. We offer our opinions aloud, whether they match with the judges' decisions or not. We look forward to this year's real Spring, and remember shows past, when Nana used to come with us, when we went with Linda and her girls, when Mom used to tie a balloon to Teddy's wrist to make sure not to lose him in the crowd.

I had some lovely trips this late-winter-early-spring, to San Antonio, Sarasota, and San Diego. But nothing inspires like the possibilities in your own back yard. I'll keep dreaming of a green April and hoping for temperatures above 50 for a few days in a row...