Faux Spring

Spring doesn’t exist, as least not on Cape Cod, where I live. It’s a season of deception. I count the days to March 21,st the magical date that heralds the end of winter cold and the beginning of spring warmth. I stand over the bare ground in my garden and stare at the earth wishing to see some form of life pushing out of the frozen ground. I want to be assured that this frozen era of winter will really come to an end. But as I stare at the dead frozen leaves, it begins to snow – again. It can’t be a heavy snow, I tell myself, because it’s spring. But the following morning I am once again shoveling off the decks and pathways and throwing it on the snow-packed mounds formed from previous snowstorms.

I trudge in my L.L. Beaner’s out to the mailbox to get the morning papers when out from the bottom falls a glossy flier. I pick it up off the snow. Ii is a slick brochure advertising bathing suits, swimming pool accessories, brightly colored flowerpots, and beach umbrellas. From what universe did this come? Do the people who make these up actually live here? No one is going to put on those bathing suits around here for another 3-4 months.

I read the weather reports. They promise blue skies and temperatures into the 50’s. My outdoor thermometer reads 38°. There is a bitter cold wind off the water that drives the wind chill down to freezing and the skies are overcast. I am still scraping frost off from the windshield of my car. Maybe it reached 50° somewhere in this state but not here. In April, I decided to go to a home and garden show at a nearby high school. As I walk in, there are flats of brightly colored pansies sitting there looking as forlorn as a basket of abandoned puppies. They beg me to take them home and put their roots in a nice loamy pot of soil and place them in the sun. They are only $10.00 for the flat and the money goes to a good cause. The vendors tell me I can put them outside in May because they are “hardy.” It was the middle of June before they ever got freed from their tiny pot bound prisons to stretch their toes in bigger pots and feel the outdoor sun on their leaves. The weather said it would reach 60’s when I ventured to put them out. The next morning their leaves were shriveled from the too cold night, but they did survive – barely.

So here’s the honest-to-goodness truth. There is no spring on Cape Cod. Spring is a farce. We go from winter to a gradual summer that doesn’t really start until the middle of July. In June I look for hope that I can finally shrug off my insulated coat and free my hands from gloves. I dream of the joy of slouching out on my deck in shorts, sandals, and a tee shirt. But every day is a tease. One time in early June, I thought my outdoor thermometer was broken because it barely moved out of the 50’s when the forecasts said 60-70’s. The spring bulbs that dared to emerge were as brave as a soldiers engaged in combat as they struggled to break through the frozen ground and survive in snow and bitter cold winds.

And the rain, did I mention that? Do we really need that much rain? The southwest is begging for it. The vineyards in southern California would pay gold for it while our streets are flooded, our plant roots are rotting, and the potholes resemble kiddie pools. I suggest we build a pipeline and send all this water to them.

It is the middle of July now and I hear people complaining about the humid, muggy days of summer. They want relief from the heat. Maybe complaining about the weather is just our lot in life. But for me, I’m happily walking down the driveway in my flip-flops, shorts, and tee shirt for the morning newspaper. On the way back, a flier slips out from the papers. It’s an advertisement for back-to-school notebooks, outdoor furniture covers, woolen scarves and winter coats. I put my flounder-white legs up on a deck chair in the sun and sip on iced tea. There should be a punishment meted out to the advertisers who do this to us. Maybe make them wear or use what they advertise at the same time they advertise it. That should solve the problem of this devious selling ploy. But for now, I don’t care. I am going to soak up every bit of muggy warmth my body can take in and not complain – until next spring.


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