Are you craving spring? It’s been a hard winter along the east coast this year, as both Bostonians and New Yorkers can attest. We’ve had brutal, biting bold and bitter wind; it’s felt more than usual that Winter was a conscious presence in our lives, breathing its spiteful breath down our necks.
Winter can be demoralizing; I know I’ve holed up a little this season, concentrating on my work, on getting through the week, on binging on food and cheap entertainment on the weekends. Winter encourages us to crawl back inside ourselves a little. But there’s also nothing so liberating as a New England spring, perhaps because we’ve had to suffer a little to earn it. There’s always that first day that looks just as gray as the rest, but when you step outside, you feel an unexpected gentleness in the air, a promise of spring if not spring itself. You still wear your parka and your boots and you end up sweating when you’re outside. The rain washes your old salty coat and washes the filthy crusts of snow down the gutter.
It’s been an especially long winter this year; it had me thinking about one of my favorite books growing up, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter, one of the sequels to the classic Little House on the Prairie. In this epic story, the cold is so relentless and fierce that the entire town runs out of food and wood; Laura must weave knots of straw just to make something that will burn. We folk in the city certainly never have to experience winters like that; the worst of our seasons are gentled and insulated against. But still, we work hard, and we’re out there every day, tramping in our boots. And maybe this week or the next, we’ll be rewarded with spring.