Winter - Sharon Train Station Woodsby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 5/2005

There’s so much going on these days, that I thought I’d get right to the heart of an important issue. When I was a kid, there was a popular margarine commercial. In it, Mother Nature got very angry because someone would give her some margarine that tasted so good she thought it was butter. Then she’d say, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” and unleashed lightning bolts, thunder, volcanic lava and raining sulfur.

Which begs the question, what in the world have we done to make her so angry these days? I mean, she’s furious! She cancelled Spring!

The Vernal Equinox (Latin for “Tune up the lawn mower and go to Home Depot) was four weeks ago. I know it’s Spring because it says so on my 2005 Calendar. Then again, my calendar has a picture of the Old Man of the Mountains, which is curiously a pre-collapse photo of the famous landmark. So … wait … . If the calendar is lying about the present state of the Old Man, maybe it is also lying about the Vernal Equinox.

I’m sorry; these shadow conspiracies can get very confusing. Give me a moment.

Anyway, back on topic, the day after the Red Sox opener, we saw SNOW in the evening. Snow! On April 12! The next morning, and today, there was frost on my windshield. Frost!

This HAS to stop.

Oh, I know, you all say, “What about that April Fool’s Day blizzard in 1997? That was in April!”

No, it wasn’t. Because of leap year, daylight savings time, and the Y2K adjustment, April 1 actually fell on January 22 in 1997. Now look, maybe I’ve had too much coffee today and have too much time on my hands but why won’t winter end? Who upset Mother Nature?

Sure, we all know that we New Englanders are a hearty bunch and it snows a lot up here, and every blizzard means days of news coverage, school closing, panic in the streets and hoarding at the supermarket. It’s what the meteorologists live for.

But it’s April. Almost May. It’s baseball season. And what about the peepers?

Those poor little peepers (tree frogs) in my pond have hatched — a wonderful sign of the arrival of Spring, But in the last few days they have gone from their normal ear-shattering chirping to little peep noises again, because of the extreme cold. They want to go back to sleep. The crocuses and other spring flowers have frost on them. And the tree buds — well, where are they? I don’t see them, do you?

There’s a lot going on in the world and closer to home, but this is serious and far more important. We have done our time, friends. We have survived the third snowiest winter on record and it just won’t stop. We’re here in late April and it’s still cold enough for the winter jacket and hat.

How in the world can we celebrate spring, renewal, and rebirth, and the end of winter, when winter won’t end? Winter has become like that relative you invite over for a few days and just won’t leave! How can we play softball in heavy winter coats? (I don’t play softball but I’m trying to make a point, you see.)

Sure, many of you will tell me it’s all because Martha Stewart was released from prison, saw her shadow and that means six more weeks of winter, but I don’t believe it. Even her magazine talks about planting for Spring (and has a lovely article about hand-dying bath towels).

I mean, I know there are zillions of other really important things and stuff I should write about, but I’ve just had enough. Even Sue’s car battery died the other day. Sure, she drained it with a tire-inflator, forgotten overnight, and that had nothing to do with the temperature, but a dead battery is still a sure sign of winter!

If this continues, the community organizations will be selling hot cocoa and soup on Founders Day and we’ll have pictures with Santa Claus! We won’t have fireworks because no one will be able to see through the snow squalls!

I know, I know, there are so many other things to write about but this is really bugging me and I so need a life. So I’m asking — begging — whoever it was who upset mother nature, please apologize. Send her some flowers or candy. Say you’re sorry and it’ll never happen again, whatever “it” was. I see no reason why the rest of us should have to suffer for your inconsideration. Send Mother nature a nice note and sincere apology.

Yes, there’s a lot going on right now, but let’s focus on what’s really important and end this winter once and for all. For the sake of all of us, especially the children. And the peepers. Let’s not forget the peepers.

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