Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Cold Winter, A Flower, and The Possibility of Spring

I walked out of my house and immediately started shivering.

I couldn't believe how cold it was and even sneaked a look at my phone to confirm that it was, in fact, still March and we didn't somehow Back-To-The-Future it back to January without me noticing. Not that I have anything against time travel, it's just that if I'm going back in time, I would prefer to head back to my Bahamas vacation of a few years ago where the sky was blue, the ocean crystal clear, and the air warm.


I felt like I hadn't been warm in months.

The snow started in November, the Polar Vortex took hold sometime around New Years, and we had been cold ever since. Winter is generally my favorite of all the seasons, but even this Pittsburgh girl was worn out.

Four months of hauling bags of salt, shoveling the snow that seemed to never stop falling and sliding my way to the train station had taken its toll.

I couldn't even remember what warm felt like. For months my life had consisted of bundling up into sweaters I hadn't worn since my college days in the frozen tundra that is winter in Boston, a puffy coat, and the wooliest winter accessories to get to work, only to peel off the layers once I was sitting in my office, where the entire building is a sauna and climate control is a dirty word.

I thought that if I tallied up all the time I spent dealing with winter clothes and accessories over the past four months it would rival the time that summer where I watched all of 24 and The West Wing in approximately ten weeks. Assuming every show is about 42 minutes long without commercials (and I certainly didn't watch commercials), that is, conservatively, 242 hours. All in all, I'd rather be watching TV.

Which I did, a lot, this winter, because when it's so cold that your face freezes before you can make it to the car, there's not a whole lot of motivation to go out at night unless you absolutely have to.

I locked the door, glared at the snow shovel and salt spreader that had taken up permanent residence on my porch, and considered kicking them both until they were broken, but cooler heads prevailed when I remembered that at the rate we were going it would probably snow more still before winter finally released its icy grasp.

As I swung into the driver's seat of my car, eager to warm it up and get the heat going to ward off the chill, something caught my eye. On the side of the driveway, almost hidden by the damp and still frosty leaves, a tiny purple flower poked out of the ground. It was the only one of its kind, and barely visible, but it was there, its color a pop of cheerfulness on the cold, grey day.

And I thought that maybe spring isn't too far off after all.


  1. You should move to Charleston. It's going to be almost 80 today!

    Seriously though, this winter has blown. I know we don't have it as bad as y'all do but we definitely haven't been enjoying ourselves down here either!

  2. Yay for the crocus. Those little hopeful fellows. It was almost 80 here today but we have had our share of cold too. It was in the 20s just last week. I think we've all had enough winter relative to what we are used to.

  3. oh i think spring is in the air. things are blooming. :)

  4. I saw our first flower today! I know what you mean about always being cold. I'm so ready to be sweating and complaining about the heat.

  5. Isn't that such a great feeling?! I've been hearing the geese coming back lately and I get all excited. My kids think I'm crazy.

  6. It actually reached into the 70's here today, and I may have weeped with joy for a minute or two. Hang in there.

  7. That brave little crocus. I live in Maine. I usually wash my winter coat at the end of its season. This guarantees it is fresh for the next winter, and never looks too grungy. After 6 months of unprecedented continuous service, I now feel marginalized when I wear my coat. But I haven't been able to spare it for the two days it would take to launder it. And, as god as my witness, I will not buy a second winter parka.

  8. Your winter sounds like mine, including the hours of TV. We had a lot of movie nights around here. That first flower means so much. Nice to see a photo of it.

  9. That poor little purple flower! I hope it really warms up soon, because I know it's been rough. We spent our spring break in Michigan (with family) and it was so cold! They're supposed to get snow on Friday - yikes!

  10. Yay for the crocus! ::: does early '90's Arsenio Hall fist pump ::: I don't know, man. This winter has been *rough* for you guys. I can't even imagine. I lived in Boston for a few years and apparently only experienced "mild" winters but yeesh. That's some rough stuff.

  11. I live here too! And I have hated this winter. I'm glad you found a sign of hope!