In books, spring always seems to come in a rush. Homesteaders on the prairies, or trappers in the northern bush, endure a long harsh winter, their food and their firewood have almost run out and the snow is so deep they can’t get out to replenish their supplies.. Then one day they notice something different in the air, a warm breeze begins to blow and the snow melts away in a matter of a few days. Well folks, I have to tell you the awful truth — it just doesn’t happen like that in real life.
I have to admit though, that when we lived in Ontario my rose-tinted memories of prairie life went much like what I have read in books. In south-western Ontario spring comes early; around the beginning of March the snow melts, the rivers run free and everything is wonderful — until the next big snowfall. I learned the hard way to expect three big snows after I thought spring had arrived.
Our first spring in Ontario, one day at the end of March or the beginning of April, I was in the M&M convenience store in St. Marys. The street sweeping machine was going down the street, picking up the dust and gravel left by the snow which had been gone for several weeks already. A customer in the store remarked that it was about time to clean the streets. Dick McPherson, the owner of M&M, suggested that they had probably waited until they were sure there would be no more snow. Everbody had a good laugh at that. The next morning there was six inches of fresh snow on the ground.
Here in Saskatchewan spring began three weeks ago. We had lovely mild, sunny weather, above zero temperatures and the snow rapidly began to disappear. After a few days it turned cold again, with about half the snow left and several light snowfalls adding to it. Monday morning the temperature was -22° Celsius.
Now it seems that spring may be here to stay. The temperature was up to 4° yesterday and there were puddles in the yard again. The forecast is that by Tuesday the temperature will be up to 14°.
I have another memory from my childhood about the timing of spring. I’m not sure anymore how much to trust those memories, but as I recall, I could never ride my bike to school before the Easter holidays, but I always could when school began after Easter. It was that way whether Easter was early or late. This year, Good Friday is two weeks away and we still have lots of snow left, perhaps there is something to it.
Our cats definitely have spring fever. With the longer days they want to be outside a lot more, but it’s still too cold for them to stay out for very long. Have you ever noticed how a cat is always on the wrong side of a door? That’s definitely the case at this time of year. We are getting spring fever, too. Even though there’s not a hint of green on the lawn and our garden is still under a couple feet of snow, I am getting anxious to get things ready.