Take heart, fellow New Englanders. Winter is on its last legs and we can rejoice in the early, tentative signs of spring: the strengthening sun, the returning birds, and the fact that I’m not currently throwing a snowball in your face.
As we do every year, we tried at first to embrace the winter by skiing and skating and sledding — but these diversions soon grew stale and it became apparent that we’d only make it through this long, trying season if some of us were firing densely-packed projectiles and others of us were being struck by them.
I’m sure we’d all agree that time went by faster, that things were much less boring, living in that heightened state of tension, anxiously wondering from which direction the next snow “grenade” would fly — into our faces, our chests, our groins — but knowing deep in our hearts that with each new explosive thump against the side of someone’s head, spring was getting just a little bit closer.
What was once a tedious slog along the sidewalk or through a mini-mall parking lot became, almost magically, a nerve-rattling game of cat and mouse, particularly for our senior citizens. True, it may have always ended badly for the mouse, but let’s not forget that sometimes the cat forgot to take his gloves and as a result his fingers got pretty numb — a fate he gladly suffered to keep your veins surging with adrenaline and mild annoyance.
How many times were dreary days momentarily brightened in this manner? How many shrieks of surprise and feverish giggles and shouted profanities rang out over the snowy landscape? Too many to count. And to dwell on. Because luckily, we in these parts are a hardy breed: not the type to complain about things we have no control over, or to file class-action lawsuits. No, we are eternal optimists who strive to see the positive side in everything, which is why we’re already turning our thoughts toward fair-weather activities such as golf, gardening, and letting bygones be bygones.
That’s not to say, of course, that spring is officially here. The snow is just about gone — and unfortunately what’s left isn’t conducive to making good snowballs — but the ground is extremely wet and muddy, and will be for weeks to come. With the light at the end of the tunnel so close yet so far, this time of year can in some ways be the most taxing of all on our collective patience. And with that in mind, I’m certain we’ll continue to keep our chins up, to not complain if the occasional mud ball should slam into us, but instead be confident that with each new dirty thump against the back of someone’s head, one of us is just a little less bored than he would be otherwise.