Column: Time for this guest to leave

Feb. 07, 2014 @ 03:30 PM

Winter has worn out its welcome.

The brief spell of spring-like weather at the beginning of last week drove home that my body is ready for winter to be over. A couple of days after the high temperature peaked in the 60s, we had high temperatures in the 40s and lows in 20s. In January that would have felt positively temperate. Not now.

Sunny isn’t good enough anymore if the air is 30; 40 isn’t good enough if it’s windy; 50 isn’t good enough if it’s gloomy and damp.

The cells in my body have already reset. The three layers that kept me warm when the drafts through the house were coming from a 10-degree wind outside now don’t keep me warm when it’s 40 out. It’s like I have malaria; I shiver.

What felt cold two weeks ago feels colder. What was warm now feels chilly.

Last Sunday I spent several hours cutting overgrown brush – a chore that worked muscles that hadn’t gotten good work in months and left me sore for days, walking like Walter Brennan. In the cold days that followed, I stood in the kitchen looking out at the brown grass and wondered how long it would stay too cold for me to work outside again.

I have an urge to plant something. That happens every spring. The longer I have to wait to do it, the more I will fidget like a child awaiting Christmas.

One day last week I looked out and saw at least two dozen robins hopping around the yard, their red breasts standing out against the bleak gray-brown colors of the winter yard, the gray trees beyond and the gray sky overhead. I had not seen many robins until very recently. Are they on the move, I wondered, a pre-spring migration?

I stood in the once-warm kitchen, feeling frozen, and hoped.