It’s April 20 and it snowed 2 inches last night. While that really shouldn’t be all that surprising, I find it a little…well, depressing. I seem to recall that most years, this is the week that the grass in the valley turns green. Not this year.
I often decree that I don’t have a favorite season. There’s something about the anticipation of the next, and the turning of the year, that makes whatever comes next my favorite— sweaty September days have me craving the crisp chill of autumn; frozen, brown November has me aching for the first snowflakes; March’s fierce snowstorms have me longing for the warmth and the persistent crocuses to return. But this “spring” is really trying my patience. By the time it shows up I think I may be ready for a sweaty summer river dip.
When I was a teacher, this time of year saw my annual reading of a perennial favorite, “Sixteen Miles to Spring” by Andrew Pelletier. (What an amazing surprise to discover that the author Mr. Pelletier was the brother of my school’s own Mr. Pelletier!) I discovered this charming tale as a grad student, in the dusty basement of a Harvard Square bookstore.
In the story, Maddy and her father, eager to begin their spring garden, make a trip to town and long the way meet two fellows slowly traveling north in their ‘jalopy.’ Wilbur and Wiley travel just sixteen miles north each day, beginning in late December, and leave a wake of spring blossoms and gentle spring rains behind them. Of course, in my classroom a geography & climate lesson followed.
I just love the concept of spring creeping northward, sixteen miles a day. It really makes sense, doesn’t it? I wonder how many miles away it is today. It can’t be far, can it?
In the meantime, maybe I’ll go for a ski.