The ice boats found their smooth patch of ice on Saturday. It was breezy without being windy, sunny without being warm, and the ice was slippery and snow-free. At one point in the afternoon, I counted eight or more boats underway at once, a most magical scene on such a beautiful winter day. But by Sunday one of the iceboats had plunged partially into the open water and the rest took their wintery boats back to their trailers, destined for a return trip to the garage, or back shed, or lean-to where they’ll spend the rest of the spring, and the entirety of summer, and all of fall. On Sunday, winter ended.
Before we look to spring, which is around us now even in between these melting piles of rotting winter snow, we should look back, to February. I don’t know anyone who really likes that month. February. It’s such an odd month. December gets all of the wintertime buzz, and January finds some praise for its typically consistent temperatures and expected snowfalls. But February has few admirers. It’s a dark month, typically, with clouds and some snow and some polar vortexes and maybe some rain. It’s winter, through and through, without any ceremony. It’s just a month we abide. But this February now ended wasn’t like that at all. It was sunny. Remarkably so. And it was cold, sure, but was it really? I found it to be tolerable and only a few of the days were difficult. Even the snow storm that promised to send February out with a wicked punch failed to deliver more than seventy-three snowflakes. February, if I had a hat on this morning I’d tip it to you, because you weren’t half bad.
Now that February is over we can realize what season it is. Sure, spring is miserable and wet and temperamental, and it doesn’t even start for three weeks, but I know what season I’m in. It’s spring. Winter is over, because I see the light in my room at 5:30 and I left the house today in a spring-ish jacket and I don’t even regret my decision. Look closely at the trees and shrubs in your yard, there are buds of increasing size. Look to the water, where the white ice once was there is now just open blue, and each day this week there will be more of it before it’s entirely gone. In three weeks, piers will be shaken free from their winter lawns and tucked in to their summer cribs. It’s only a matter of time, now. I can feel it. I can sense it. And while winter wasn’t difficult on me, I am very glad that it’s over.
(Now you can be certain there will be a massive snow storm sometime in the next two weeks. Sorry.)