lace is overrated
So we’re up to the third snowstorm in oh, a week and a half. I’m looking out my window at the dropping dusk and watching the too-familiar white lace build up on my favorite maple tree.
It’s pretty. It is. I love winter. But — can I just be a little frustrated? I would have loved it twice or three times as much in November, when the days were darkening and everything was so brown and dead I lit five or more candles on the kitchen table where I was working and nursed cup after cup of hot tea. November. December. Sure, January or February too, though by that time the winter had gotten itself going and we at least had some snow to look at. But April? April 22, no less; Earth Day, when schoolchildren everywhere are supposed to go out and plant a tree or a flower, or even a few seeds!
Yeah. Instead, we had a lowering day going to rain with snow spitting in, and then just flat-out snow. It’s supposed to get as much as nine inches of wet, slushy, mess. Last week the weather forecaster called it a “slop storm” — that was for the second one. Now we’re on to the third. Anyone who knows me knows I like snow, but everything has a time and a place. It’s just plain depressing to look out at the tail-end of April and see fresh snow (maybe that should be the “back-end”?).
So I’m carrying my laundry up the stairs, thinking about how I’ll have to go out in the slush in a few minutes and wondering just what exactly I’m annoyed about anyway. I mean, a month ago this snow wouldn’t have been such an issue (it also wouldn’t have been as wet, but that’s another thing). Snow in the end of March, at least at the latitudes where I grew up and now live, is…par for the course. Business as usual. Even into the beginning of April, sure. But I have expectations. I expect that somewhere in April, the mysterious alchemy of Spring will start creeping up AND NOT STOP. That’s probably part of the problem right there. Just as I start to see grass, whomp! another snowstorm. Delayed gratification? Or dashed hopes? Something.
But I was thinking too, why do I like snow in the first place? It’s pretty. Most of the time, too, the weather is crisp and invigorating. Snowy days make me want to go play outside, then come in and curl up with a blanket and a book, some hot tea, and maybe a candle or some Christmas lights. (Got the Christmas lights — still. Don’t judge.) I still have books, candles, tea, blankets, and a comfy beanbag. I didn’t ditch those when March blew out the door. I don’t particularly want to go play in the squishy mess outside, but I can skip straight to the snuggling anytime. So why the annoyance with this late spring snow?
Back in March, when I went to the Christian women’s conference, one of the workshops was about how to fight disappointment. The speaker’s main point was if you don’t make unrealistic expectations (and, incidentally, also forget to tell other people about them), you will have less disappointment in your life. I don’t actually think it is *that* unrealistic to expect sunny (sunnier?) days and the beginnings of spring in April — we actually did have it last year. But it is unrealistic, in my admittedly not vast life experience to expect spring in Maine or Minnesota to just sweep over the land without a few hiccups along the way. So this is more along the lines of a large belch (or snow vomit?), rather than a hiccup. I should still stop complaining. At least I’m not looking out from the underside of a bridge or something, right?
But the other reason I thought that I might be longing for spring so much, aside from the months of winter we’ve just had, is that this year, spring to me has a lot more riding on it than balmy weather and a profusion of lilacs. Those are wonderful on their own, I will be the first to admit, but Kent also reminded me that I am the first to complain about the heat and humidity of summer. (No, I don’t like most of Minnesota’s weather, actually. Yes, we aren’t planning on living here much longer that we have to, why do you ask?) No, the reason(s) I’m really looking forward to spring are more — careerish than sun-tannish.
I finally have my ESL license (got the e-mail the same day I found out my grandfather died — not surprised it didn’t get a lot of media attention…), so this spring/summer is when I’ll hopefully land a full-time job for next year! Four (more) years of cleaning toilets done! (Then I can complain about grading…) So my hopes are riding on what spring will bring to me financially, after six years of living very close to disaster — a chance to actually MAKE a budget and then, of course, stick to it, because it will include space to, say, buy new running shoes or go out to eat once in a while. Not that we didn’t do those things, these last years — we did. But we’ve also run up a bunch of credit card debt in the process. It will feel a lot better to me to say, “I can save up for this pair of shoes — that is in the budget”, rather than “I need a new pair of shoes but I have no money; I guess I’ll have to add that to the card.”
So spring to me means sunshine, flowers, a chance to go OUTSIDE without burying my face in my scarf/collar/hair, training for a marathon, hiking, and all the other wonderfulness that spring means to those of us who live in the cold and frozen northlands. But this year, I guess I just want spring to come so I can feel secure. Given that reason, I guess it doesn’t really matter that there’s another helping of slush piling up outside. The job will come when it comes. Just like spring.
Hey, at least I’m not under a bridge…
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