Wednesday, March 04, 2009


It’s over. Not officially – that doesn’t happen until later this month, but for all intents and purposes (or, as I misheard for years, having learned English haphazardly, in spurts – for all intensive purposes – which, by the way, is a far more agreeable phrase), it’s over.

What? Winter, of course. The season that pushes good people to move from here to Florida.

Why do I say this? Because each month, once it properly gets going, has, in my mind, an “average” aura. March, in southern Wisconsin (where I live) is all about the 40s. April is mostly a 50s thing. May revs it up with readings in the 60s, June pushes 70s and July and August spiral into the 80s. I recognize that there are vicissitudes, and snow showers in May, and warm spells in April, but generally you can expect the pattern I describe.

March got going today and so for me, winter is but a memory. A week of 40s followed by another and there you have it – daffodil time around the corner.

One past March, in my high school years in Poland, I remember taking a bus out into the country. I walked along a dirt road flanked by willows – they signal spring before other trees join in (it’s all imagery and imagination, of course: yellow willow twigs look more spring-like than, say, the dark bare oak or pasty birch). I listened to birds and I let the mud cover my reliable brown shoes (when did black leather take over the shoe world?) and I thought that March was a fine month, a balmy month, a good month in spite of dirty city streets and bare strips of sod covered by dog crap.

Balmy forties. No more blaming the weather. Time to get going, discover the world, write your novel.

The one thing I’ll say about winter – you can move slowly, or not at all and you will be forgiven. It’s not your fault, it’s the damn cold! In spring, staying frozen in one place sounds like what it is – laziness. Or ineptness. Or both.