Saturday, February 27, 2010

Long Winter in Geauga County, Ohio!

This morning I looked out on about two feet of new snow (on top of who knows how much old snow!), and thought how we seem to be the snowiest place on earth. Of course that is ridiculous. But we are indeed the snowiest place in Ohio! Cleveland has certainly had less than half of our snowfall this year. Their temperatures and snow accumulations seem like a different world compared to ours--and we are probably only 40-45 miles east of the airport, where official weather conditions are measured around here.

I just checked temperatures in my favorite places across America and the world--and we in Chardon and Geauga County are the coldest and snowiest. I checked Kalispell, Montana, where my daughter CC is training with AmeriCorps and the Montana Conservation Corps; I checked her former home in Leadville, Colorado; I checked my home from long ago in Innsbruck, Austria; I check Lexington, Kentucky, where relatives live; I checked Athens, Ohio, where my youngest daughter lives; I checked Galway, Ireland, one of my favorite cities in the world. And of all these places, we were the coldest and snowiest. Geez, in Innsbruck, Austria, it is 50+ degrees--and that's in the Alps, the skiing capital of Europe! Kalispell should hit the high forties or 50 today, and that's on the Canadian-US border! And Leadville is in the high 20's right now, heading higher, and that's 2 miles above sea-level, in the highest of the Rockies!

What's the deal here? Is it some kind of Divine Retribution? I'm so glad that I have proclaimed March 1st as the First Official Day of Spring!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Declaration of Spring

By the power vested in me, I do hereby declare that Spring will begin at 12:01 AM on Monday, March 1, 2010. This will occur whether or not we have 12 inches of snow, zero temperatures, and dissenting opinions of meteorologists, astronomers, astrologists, parapsychologists, English teachers, Ursuline nuns, or Marianist brothers or priests. I don't care what your Mom has told you. This declaration will be valid in the face of any and all naysayers--and spring will last for as long as I say it will. Amen. So Help Me God.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hints of Spring

Lake Erie is pretty much frozen over, and all of Ohio is covered with snow. My own yard probably has a foot and a half to two feet of snow covering it. But, amazingly, there are hints of spring all around. Today, for the first time in forever, it's above 32 degrees (well, a little above) and the sun is shining. The days are getting longer. Sunset is now after 6 PM (better than 4:55 PM, which we saw around winter solstice!). And the birds are singing and returning.

One thing few people notice is that some of the bare tree twigs are turning color. And buds on certain trees and bushes are swelling (check out the silver maples). Lurking under the snow in Southern Ohio and Kentucky are crocuses just waiting for a few warm days to bloom. In one month I will celebrate the first day of spring--by my calendar that's March 17th, St. Patrick's Day (and I don't care if a blizzard is whistling down Euclid Avenue and the parade marchers are turning blue from the cold--it's still the first day of spring).

Some 31 years ago, when living in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, I wrote the following poem about the early signs of spring. Here it is:

February’s Dream

the snow lies thick upon the earth
the groundhog saw his shadow
the nights are long and bitter cold

but I have watched closely
and have seen some signs:

the morning concert of chirping birds
tree twigs turned a shade of red
silver maples’ pregnant buds

I have felt the quickening
first hope in this hard winter

I look for the crocus
and remember the birth
of a love