Commentary by Ward Degler
I am trying not to trust the weather. Last week it got up to 70 degrees, but I decided not to go outside and start yard work. It’s still February, and it could start snowing at any moment.
I noticed that daffodils and crocus are poking their heads out of the ground as well, but that’s got to be a fluke. After all, the groundhog promised six more weeks of winter. Three down, three to go.
Besides, the furnace still runs day and night. I haven’t noticed any break in the gas bill. And the fireplace is still cozy in the evenings. Definite signs of winter.
Just to be sure, I checked around the fish pond. The Lenten rose that blooms there all summer shows no signs of life, and it’s the first plant to wake up, other than the crocus, of course.
Come to think of it, when I was a kid in Wisconsin, crocus bloomed in the snow. Of course, everything blooms in the snow in Wisconsin, right up until Memorial Day.
Minnesota is worse. I wore a parka and mittens the first few times I mowed my lawn up there. I had to do it that way. We had a party planned for the Fourth of July.
We’ve had so little snow this winter that I haven’t used my snow shovel once. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know where it is. I probably should find it. After all, it’s still February.
The pond heater sits idly by. Usually this time of year it’s busy melting an air hole in the pond for the fish. It’s been plugged in since November, but except for a few days around Thanksgiving there hasn’t been any ice. I thought about putting it away, but the mercury could plunge any day now. It’s still February.
I pondered all these things the other day while sipping a cup of coffee out on the front porch. I often sit out there during warm summer evenings and watch the neighbors out walking with their dogs. Folks and their dogs were on the street the other day, too, even though it’s still February.
I even saw a couple of robins in the front yard. That used to be a sure sign of spring. But a few years ago we spotted robins hanging around in the middle of winter. I don’t think we can trust them any more.
March is just days away, and that means spring is almost here. But so are the basketball tournaments. And that is definitely a sure sign of winter.