Thursday, March 7, 2013

In like a lion

When Alexander Pope penned the words "hope springs eternal" in his Essay on Man, I think I know what he was talking about.
Because while we're all perfectly resigned to waves of cold and snowy weather in wintertime months like December, January and February, March is different.  Suddenly, our attitudes and expectations change.  After all, it's spring. Or at least it's supposed be. In a couple more weeks, it'll be official, which, along with the change to daylight savings time and an early Easter, simply demands a fast, glorious transformation to tulips, tree blossoms and green, green grass.
Maybe next week.
I felt kind of like a moving snow magnet myself this year, returning to Illinois in time for the first real covering of the new year, traveling northwest to Fargo for a big-time blizzard, then heading cross-country to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where the term "lake effect snow" was invented. We came back to our Galva home right in time for last week's big-snow bash, but finally bailed out before the early-March snow day all my hometown friends just experienced.
But while, I admit, I just plain chickened out on snow, ice and freezing temperatures in favor of the place we call our second home on the North Carolina shore, I'd swear Old Man Winter did his level best to follow me. Despite the fact that we took what we call "the southern route" which heads down quickly to avoid wintry conditions in eastern Indiana, Ohio and the West Virginia Mountains, it simply would not quit snowing as we fled along our southbound trail. Every once in awhile, the dreary skies would emit what those smarmy weather guys casually call a "wintry mix" of rain, sleet and other slippery stuff, and the sun even teased us a couple of times, but for the most part, it was a steady diet of the white stuff we were so anxious to leave behind. But by the time we reached our first-day destination, near the Kentucky-Tennesee border, the temperature had finally climbed and we seemed to be out of the snow belt and into the first vestiges of the springtime weather we were searching for.
I woke up early the next morning, anxious to hit the road and reach eastern North Carolina before dark.  I stumbled across our darkened hotel room and cracked the curtains, wishing for blue skies and a sun-drenched morning.
Hope springs eternal.
Instead, the sight that greeted me was a familiar one.
Every single car in the parking lot was covered with a fresh, new covering that was already a good half inch deep, with more on the way from a cold, grey sky. I hustled on down to the coffee-and-breakfast room, hoping maybe someone would know a little more about conditions down the road. But there were no long-haul truckers or other road-ready professionals on deck when I reached the room. Instead, the entire group consisted of a bunch of edgy senior citizens, noses pressed to the glass like a pathetic pack of pet-shop puppies.
I, of course, knew just what to do.
I joined them, worriedly watching through that plate glass window, as if the combined force of our plans and desires would miraculously melt the snow and make for smooth sailing along our shared southward route.
"Snow," said one.
"In March," said another.
"We're nearly in Tennessee," added a third onlooker, sounding, more than anything, like he felt the governor should be contacted forthwith and a complaint lodged.
"It's me," I mumbled.
They turned to look.
"Ah, I think the snow is chasing me," I laughed feebly. "You see, I just came from Illinois, and before that I was in Minnesota and Michigan and I... ."
They turned away.
Nobody likes a wise guy.
Especially in March.
Especially when it snows.

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