Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary'' column in GoLocal24.com
“Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. There is only one thing certain about it: You are certain there is going to be plenty of weather.”
-- Mark Twain lived many years in Connecticut but it was said that his favorite place in late life was Dublin, N.H. That's New England’s highest town and was once home of Beech Hill Farm, a famous drying-out clinic and retreat for mostly affluent alcoholics. It still hosts Yankee Publishing Inc., publisher of Yankee Magazine and the Old Farmer's Almanac.
And so we go into another spring, up and down weatherwise but trending the right way. First the flowers that can take freezing and thawing and refreezing – the crocuses and the snowdrops. Then the somewhat less hardy daffodils and the tulips.
It will be “Mud Time’’ for a few weeks in New England’s north country. And, of course, it’s pothole season!
A lot of folks are so impatient for spring that they strip down to shorts and T-shirts and wander around outside when it’s still in the forties, in a triumph of hope over experience.
Plant the radishes first!
The buds on the trees swell and then seem to almost explode on one afternoon in late April or early May—that is, except right along the coast, where the cold water delays the season as the warmed-up water delays winter late in the year. As visitors to Fenway Park know “Boston’s famous east wind’’ can drive down the temperature of a mid-April day by 20 degrees in 15 minutes.
Then comes that hot, humid day in late May or early June when the lushness is almost tropical. In New Hampshire when I lived there, it sometimes seemed as if winter ended one day and summer started the next.
Spring seems at once the real start of the year, at least of the natural year, as well as its ending, a feeling that for most people goes back to their memories of the school year’s approaching end.
This recalls the Rodgers & Hammerstein song "It Might as Well Be Spring,'' whose last lines are:
"I haven't seen a crocus or a rosebud or a robin on the wing
But I feel so gay in a melancholy way
That it might as well be Spring .
It might as well be spring….''
Warning! This uses the old-fashioned meaning of "gay''.