Spring is definitely in the air [UPDATED]Published 10:03am Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Updated 12:07pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Ways you can tell that spring is coming:
First, some archaeological remnants of last summer’s civilization begin appearing here and there in your yard. These partial apparitions at first seem almost foreign, but as snow melts, and more of them come into view, some faint memories begin to appear.
What is that coming up through the snow? Oh, right, I forgot to put those lawn chairs and table away last fall. There was that last nice warm day in the sun, no mosquitoes, frost had killed them. You never know, shouldn’t put lawn furniture away too prematurely. Wasn’t that about where the snow plow turned around… (Yes. Yes it was. So much for the lawn furniture.)
And over across the yard? What are those? Could some snakes have coiled up and frozen in place last fall… Oh. Nope. That’s the new garden hose you bought last summer, at least, what’s left of it after you mauled it with the riding mower trying to pick up leaves. Vague recollections of extracting mangled pieces from the mower blades now appear, reminding you that you were so disgusted you just left it there. Now, instead of one 100-foot hose, you have ten ten-footers.
Some dark spots appear in the driveway. From the house, with the sun shining, they look dirty. Whatever could they be. Maybe somebody’s car leaked a bunch of oil, which escaped their transmission when they were revving and reversing and ruining their car trying to get out of that big snowdrift that was right about there. (Nope. Closer examination reveals that it’s good old-fashioned DIRT! Real DIRT!) You haven’t seen any in so long, what with the deep snow we’ve had, you didn’t recognize it at first.
Over beside the house, a large, black, protuberance is bellying itself up out of the snow. What Neanderthal kind of prehistoric remnant must this be.
You’d go closer to examine it, but the snow is still over three feet deep. It takes several more days before it becomes apparent that, despite your best intentions at putting it away for the winter, the barbeque grill once again sat right where you burned that last batch of chicken.
Just as you walk out the door of the house, someone clubs you over the head hard enough to knock off your stocking cap and stagger you pretty good. Oh. Boy. That was quite a large icicle! You regain your senses, look at the soldierly row of clear stalagmites suspended from your rain gutter, and you remember how wonder-full they were when you were a child. There was nothing like picking one off and treating it briefly as an ice cream cone. Briefly. You mostly ate some of it just because you were told not to.
As you’re rubbing your sore noggin and marveling at how much all those icicles must weigh, several feet of that new rain gutter you put up last summer begins to droop, and suddenly crashes to the deck, bringing with it several feet of house soffit.
After cleaning that mess up, you notice up on the roof over that gutter that an ice buildup the size of the Hoover damn has formed. History repeats itself, we are told, and indeed it does, because you get a claw hammer and a stepladder, and go up there and mangle several shingles while you’re removing the ice damn. It slowly dawns on you that you did this three or four years ago, had to replace shingles, and swore you’d be more careful next time.
Oh, oh. Over there. You hit something this winter with your brand new snowblower, which, just as advertised, went where no one had gone before. Where, in fact, the canoe was buried.
Finally, you once again fire up the vacuum cleaner and go after the fresh red tide of Asian beetles that dot the southern windows inside the house.
It must be spring.
Alan Linda, The Prairie Spy, is the author of “Who Shot the Dryer and Other Stories from the Home Front,” which is available at www.trellispublishing.com