Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 6, 2014

SINGER: Welcoming an earned spring

Niagara Gazette — Oddly and paradoxically, given winter’s onslaught this year, you started feeling hints of spring on blazing February days, when birds were busy koffee-klatching upon white ice shards in the Niagara, despite waterfowl being sadly thinned by that same ice covering needed minnows.

Inexorably, as March arrived like the proverbial lion, and snow melted, then reappeared, while the month advanced, spring came closer and closer from that point. Luminous skies some days made even white smoke pealing from factories look more poetic, heralding winter’s demise. Certain nights pinged with plentiful stars that seemed fresh and new. Eventually, the much-salted roads of a relentless season (featuring what had felt like some 140 snowfalls) became more of a memory; but not without Old Man Winter staying in the game, including via a mid-March blizzard and a last thump at month’s end.

Speaking of salt, this year’s winter was such a punishing throwback, right down to Georgia, that salt mining near Rochester, among other spots, thrived seven days a week, its employees doing round-the-clock, painstaking work down there to our collective benefit. (Labor that many, me included, couldn’t do.)

So spring has been emphatically earned this year, having fought a dialectical struggle with winter that two years ago was merely laughable, winter having thrown in the towel from almost the first round. (Remember those crazy buds of January, and temperatures soaring to over 80 March 21)? By contrast, a real winter brings a more savored spring? You bet, and as in the old tune, you can’t (or in Western New York shouldn’t) have one without the other.

Many tunesmiths used to salute a kinder new season with songs like “Spring Fever” or Vernon Duke’s old chestnut, “April in Paris,” and weren’t doing so as snowbirds roosting in Florida entire winters; but rather, with real northern gratitude.

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