Spring has well and truly arrived in northeast Ohio. Know how I can tell? We had a snowstorm overnight and into this morning. On April 21st. Unless the warm-up happens at warp speed, we’re set to have a white Earth Day. Poetic, I guess, as that day was established to bring attention to climate change.
Night owl that I am, I looked outside about 2:00 AM, and about half an inch of the predicted “up to four inches” of white stuff had fallen. Vast swathes of oversized, wet flakes weren’t so much falling, as dropping like lead from the sky.
Late this morning, I looked out and thought how odd it seemed for leafy green branches to be bowed down under the weight of snow. For the crepe myrtle and other ground cover in the front yard to be blanketed in white. Not today did I see the austerity of mere black and gray against the stark contrast of snow. Our black warrior cat, Zach, was most dismayed to step onto the deck and find his feet sinking into an inch of slush — not what he was expecting.
The forecasters say this will be just a blip in the progress toward the months of hot weather to come. They indeed prognosticated scenes of doom for the morning rush hour, but in typical ratings-conscious fashion, sought to buoy up listeners with promises that the “unseasonable” storm would dissipate in the face of an incoming high-pressure system, bringing a near-30-degree temperature increase within the next few days. To bear out such optimism, the sun has been bursting through more and more frequently for the last couple hours. And so it goes. But in reality, the overnight onslaught wasn’t unseasonable; for several decades, we’ve seen end-of-April freezes, some producing much more snow than this one. Of course, 50 years ago or more, yes, sleet and flurries were rarer at this time of year. Now, though, spring consists of a few weeks of rollercoaster weather between winter and summer, and fall frequently means warmth into at least mid-October, then a quick plunge into frost. “White Halloweens” are actually a thing.
I’ve always said that I never wanted to retire in Florida or Arizona, because I love the four seasons. Well….it’s getting to the point at which we really only have two up here, and I recently read that, within a few more decades, we’ll have summer for six months out of the year here in the North. Great news for my sun-seeking friends, but an utterly depressing thought for me, not that I’ll be around to experience that new normal. And anyway, it’s seldom bitterly cold here in northern Ohio anymore, even in January. We might get a few days of single-digit temperatures, but only enough to send the weather twinkies into panic for a news cycle or two. When the thermometer can consistently hover around 70° by May 1st, then move up to 80° by mid-May and stay there, on average, for almost five months, we’ve already got half a year of summer, in my book.
Unlike many of my co-inhabitants up here near Lake Erie, I’m quite contented with this snowfall. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I enjoyed the 84° blast for a few days, but it didn’t seem….natural. Conversely, today’s last (next-to-last?) gasp of winter, with one more chance to turn on the gas logs in the fireplace, makes me quietly happy. If that makes me weird, I embrace it!