I live in the upper midwest where winter is a well-known phenomenon. Some years it actually seems as if our four season are Winter and June, July and August.
Not this year. This winter I often found myself looking out at the white stuff and saying, “Is this all there is?”
Mind you, I was NOT complaining. I was merely voicing the same incredulity that almost every one of my neighbors was expression as well. We had winter – of sorts. But we had absolutely nothing to complain about. It got down to zero a handful of days. Never more than two at a stretch (two is NOT a stretch, believe me). And it snowed. Now and then. Periodically.
So, yes, there was winter. But really, a perfect winter. Just ask all of us – minus the people whose income depends on ski resort earnings. We were happy as clams. Happier even.
Color us amazed. Surely it won’t stick around, we said when the temps hit 60. Surely we’re imagining things we said when the temps hit 70 two or three days in a row. Is the thermometer broken? we asked when one day mid-March it hit 83.
These are unusual temperatures for Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. But not unheard of. Except for the fact that they seemed to stick around. It didn’t get below freezing for weeks.
But we’re not complaining.
Not just because it was a relatively short, relatively mild, relatively free-of-feet-of-snow winter. But because it is the most beautiful spring I’ve ever seen.
The scilla came up through the grass mid-March. The daffodils were blooming right on their heels. The tulips are everywhere. The lilacs are gorgeous, as are the red bud trees and the flowering crabapples and the Jonathan and Beacon apple trees in our yard. The whole town looks like an ad for a seed catalogue. Mind-boggling.
All I know is, I’m glad I got my book finished so I can go out and bask in the sunshine, walk the dogs and pretend that it’s going to last and last and last.
I love it.
My mother, fiercely determinedly loyal Californian that she was – and who lived for nine years of her life in Iowa with her teeth clenched -- would have said, “If you LOVE IT SO MUCH, why don’t you move back to California where it’s like this all the time?”
To which I can only answer, “Mom, it’s wonderful because it’s unexpected and unlikely and more than we deserve. And you never really appreciated California until you lived in Iowa, either, did you?”
Anne’s current book, Savas’s Wildcat, a Harlequin Presents Extra, is out this month.
Savas’s Wildcat is set on Balboa Island in California in March, where it rained throughout most of the book. Well, not every day, but a lot.
Just saying . . .