This was a cold winter in Washington. The new climate reality, for now at least, seems to be cold air masses that get stuck over the region, dumping down snow and ice and bringing cold winds—nothing that would impress your average Canadian or Bostonian, but cold for us mid-Atlantic types. I was not the only Reveler who fell on the ice around the end of February and developed a very bad attitude about winter.
By the middle of March, we were all desperate for crocuses. My neighborhood’s most reliable field of crocuses was dug up in mid-February, as a local vacant lot began its transition into apartments. When I finally spotted some, open in a neighbor’s yard, I was thrilled. Spring might actually come.
You might think that things like the end of winter and the beginning of spring would get less exciting as I get older. Winter does end every year, or it has for the last 40 years in a row, anyway. But somehow the transitions seem more miraculous every year. The crocuses! The forsythia! And soon it will be ridiculously hot! And a few months after that, I bet the leaves that are just unfurling now will surprise me by turning red and orange and brown again. And then the snow will fall and the world will be white, and that will be amazing too. And so it goes, better and better every year.
A few weekends ago I went on a hike through the woods near the Revels office. My parents had been out a few days before and heard frogs. I went with them on a Sunday afternoon to see if we could spot the frogs again.
No luck – it may have been too cold that day – but they’d been busy; the week’s rains had filled temporary spring pools that were stocked with clear, gelatinous clumps of frog eggs.
By the first weekend in May those tadpoles should be well out of their eggs and the Arctic blast should have blasted their last gasps. We’ve already started rehearsing for the Revels community’s celebration of spring, the May Revels. We’ll sing and we’ll dance: Winter is gone! Spring is here! Pick up your ribbons! Let’s dance around the Maypole!