Mark Twain once quipped, “In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
I think he could have easily written this from Minnesota during March (though my personal tally has yet to exceed 103). With this variability in mind, I hope to be excused from the humiliations of irony as I herald the return of spring to our campus. In my mind’s eye, I picture an epic blizzard swirling over the Arches upon the publication of this piece. But I’ll just go ahead with this declaration anyway: spring is finally here, and it rocks!
Indeed, the recent burst of 60-degree weather has been a significant and timely blessing. Winter had lost its charm at some point in February, and I grew increasingly frustrated with its tiresome persistence. The wise advice to “carry the weather inside you” proved harder to follow with each frosty day. This was especially true when driving, and I confess that a swear jar could have bankrupted me had I placed one near my ice scraper.
Likewise, walking upon the frequently frictionless sidewalks of Merriam Park while en route to class was often a hazardous, uncomfortable endeavor. Comically, I slipped and fell about six times this winter (due mainly to a cold-driven, hasty pace). Upon reaching campus after such perilous treks, the quads would display the desolation and lifelessness of a ghost town as students huddled inside for warmth.
These circumstances nudged me towards the listless abyss of the doldrums, and I grew too impatient for spring. I sensed the same softening attitude bellow in others. Yawns and sniffles abounded with the wet squeaks of snow-cased boots on the first floor tile of McNeely Hall. It seemed even the hardiest, most experienced Minnesotans were in need of a big change.
But at long last we were blessed this St. Patrick’s Day with glorious, warm sunshine. Like the snakes of Ireland, the pernicious snow melted and was driven away to the Mississippi River. In its place lay moist, green grass awakening from dormancy. An influx of students quickly filled the upper quad.
The weary sounds of winter had been usurped. The icy howl of the wind and the awkward crunch of snow under foot were replaced by both laughter and the crisp echoes of baseballs popping into dusty leather mitts. The birds chirped brightly in the trees, and I dodged an errant Frisbee before entering Murray-Herrick. It was the first time in months I had been anxious to return to the outdoors. This was a very welcome change!
Of course, this lovely streak of sunshine could be only a brief, teasing sliver of spring. The snow could swarm back like a plague of locusts for another three weeks and make me envious of those spending their breaks in a more palatable climate than Minnesota. But for now, the brief reminder goes a long way. It feels like spring to me.