If you are fortunate enough to be able to muster the mental fortitude to ignore the weather that exists around us, well, it’s spring.
Obviously, by the strictest definition, seasons are dependent more on the date of the calendar than the height of the mercury on your thermometer, but... still. It’s hard to get a little “spring in your step” when you’re stepping in snow or slush, right? Of course, there are reasons other than sloppy footwear to fret over a wintery start to spring.
The elephant in the room is the impact it could have on our local economy. Retail shops and restaurants hope to get a little bump over spring weekends, both because of golfers and other vacationers wandering down to enjoy our little slice of heaven by the shore, and the number of people getting out and about to attend various spring events throughout the area. Extreme weather can both reduce the amount of people coming down, and wipe out a full slate of events to get people out of their homes.
That’s a double-whammy, and only puts more pressure on our small businesses to have a productive summer season. And I know that I sound like a broken record on this, but those local businesses are the lifeblood of our community — when the business owners have cash in hand, they both spread that money out to other businesses, churches and organizations, and invest back into their own businesses, improving the services and goods available to all of us.
We are extremely blessed for an area our size to have access to the quality of restaurants and shops that we have, while still being able to enjoy a day at the beach, cruising around the inland waterways or sampling some farm-fresh products all around us. Most places have a choice of either. Because of the influx of both population and cash we receive from visitors to the area, we get the best of both worlds. So, basically, hooray.
Wait. I was originally talking about the weather, wasn’t I? It just becomes so easy to become a cheerleader for this community, especially when I start thinking about some of the meals I’ve eaten over the years at places like...
But I digress.
Weather. Yes, the weather. With apologies to the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange trip this winter has been for us. Following a few mild winters in a row, this one originally came in pretty gently, offering that sliver of hope that we again would be spared another blast from the arctic gods.
And then that first week of the new year hit us, and it hit us right in the face. About a foot of snow, followed by a week of 5-degree temperatures, left us looking like a snow globe with road construction signs. Clearing one’s driveway was easier done with a blowtorch and an ice pick than a shovel, and those who had plows attached to their trucks were stalked, cajoled and bartered with to obtain their services. I decided after a few minutes of trying to saw through the snow with my never-before-used shovel that I am indeed a purist, and would allow Mother Nature to clear my driveway when she saw fit. Then I went back inside and ate cupcakes.
Of course, that was our only real significant snow of the year. We haven’t even had particularly cold temperatures throughout the winter, as it has mostly hovered between 30 and 45 most days, with a few adventurous days above or beyond that range.
But it just keeps going.
This has been the Energizer Bunny of winters, relentlessly banging away at that annoying drum — not loud enough to cause any damage to our ears, but continually making that supid noise that eventually makes you want to grab it by its little ears and...
But I digress. Again.
It has just been that kind of winter, right? Annoying, without being brutal. Consistent in its ability to keep you feeling ho-hum every day, without often sinking to the point of actually causing rage. It’s been a one-coat winter, as boring in its consistency as its been welcomed because of its lack of sheer brutality. No, we have not been submerged by one blizzard after another, nor have we been subjected to sub-zero temperatures, but we haven’t enjoyed many 70-degree days mixed in there, either, as welcomed little respites.
And then came the nor’easters. The super storms. The bomb cyclones. The Ramones. Whatever names they are calling these bundles of wind, rain, snow and flying monkeys that have passed the baton to one another as they beat us down in a relay race of storms.
As I was finishing this up on Wednesday morning, we were still waiting for the brunt of this latest storm to hit us, and it was looking like it was going to be the roughest of this slate of storms to strike our community. Of course, I was wedged firmly between half of our staff warning that we were going to be buried under an avalanche of snow and fire-breathing dragons, and the other half that said we might get a dusting and nothing more, so there really was no clarity as to what was heading our way.
But I figured it would not be a swimsuit day, and, really, that’s all I needed to know. The beat goes on. And on. And on. And...