Copyright 2001 Linda Marcas - All Rights Reserved

Crank's Corner: Commentary by Linda Marcas

                                                 Spring It On Me

    It's the last week in April, and by now everyone has either heard or said, "Don't like the weather?
Wait ten minutes; it'll change!"  My grandmother was born in April, and while nowadays she might be
diagnosed as bi-polar, back then my grandfather just referred to her as "crazy, like her month."  As we enter
the exciting time of year known as Tornado Season, I offer you some of my own reflections on Spring.

    Isn't it amazing how much dreck collects on decks and patios during the winter?  You hardly notice
it for months, because it's building up slowly and you're dashing from the house to the car before your toes
freeze off, but, come the first nice day that you want to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, you need to
sweep up and scrape off all that gunk before you can relax.  Yes, you are witnessing the wonderful geologic
processes of erosion and deposition, but I'd rather enjoy watching those in a time-lapsed wonders-of-nature
film than in my own back yard, wouldn't you?

    And then there's the grass: after months of gray and brown, it's thrilling to see the first hints of
green starting to pop up through the mud.  Enjoy it while you can; by next week, the grass will be so tall that
it's troublesome to mow, and still growing so fast that I'd swear it gains an inch every time I turn around.
By the time the lawnmower gets that tune-up that I thought I'd get around to last fall, it might be simpler for
me to just rent a herd of goats.  April showers don't help, either;  the grass keeps growing, rain or shine, but
trying to mow while it's wet just doesn't cut it.

    Our building has some gaps in the bricks where we removed the beams of an old porch; every fall,
hubby plans to get out the big ladder and go up and seal off the holes so that birds don't build nests in them
the next year.  As the days get shorter and daylight diminishes, however, other more pressing projects take
precedence.  We're lucky to get all the windows sealed up by the second or third time the temperature dips
below zero, and then there's snow to shovel, cars to scrape, ice dams on the eaves, etc..  By the time the
weather is good enough to think about sealing the gaps, the starlings and other cliff-dwellers have always
gotten the jump on us and started raising families, and we just don't have the heart to kill the baby birds.
We hear them chirping and fluttering in the walls at sundown, and we say, "next year, by golly...."

    What can you wear if it's 75 degrees and muggy one day, then snowing two days later?  I've given
up trying to organize my clothing by seasonal wear, putting winter clothes away, getting summer clothes
out.  When I lived in Massachusetts, things were simpler; I could count on gradual warming and cooling
trends in spring and fall, which gave me the chance to slowly pack or unpack a box or two at a time.  The
climate of the Great Black Swamp is more prank-prone than that of New England; I'm never sure any more
if a given day's warmth is a freak hot flash or something which will continue until I'm gullible enough to
pack away my sweaters, an act that is certain to turn it cold again.  It's simpler to leave everything in a heap,
or to pack clothes away for two years at a time.  By then, it's almost like having new clothes, because I find
things that I forgot I owned.

     Even when the weather doesn't co-operate, I can tell that it's spring when the usual cat-fur dust-
bunnies in the hallway suddenly turn into giant hairy tumbleweeds.  Most times, I can pet a cat and escape
relatively unscathed as far as shedding goes, but in spring, one casual stroke leads to the hair equivalent of
furry mittens.  Good little groomers that they are, the cats are swallowing more fur this time of year, and
that leads to horrible noises and leaping about as they struggle to get rid of the hairballs.  You haven't lived
until you've gotten up in the middle of the night, barefoot, and stepped into cat gack.  Wakes you right up,
you betcha.

    For a week now, I've thought that I was coming down with a cold: sneezing, stuffy nose, puffy
eyes, the works.  Duh!  I'm not sick; I just have hay fever.  Lucky me, I can walk through a field of
goldenrod in the fall with nary a sniffle, but that invisible tree pollen gets me every time.  Trouble is, my
allergies tend to come and go, so I'm never expecting them; they just sort of creep up on me.  I've never
pinned down just what sets me off; it's more exciting to break into sudden, uncontrolable sneezing fits,
particularly while I'm driving.

    I like spring, I really do.  The air smells better, with the sap rising in the trees and the flowers in
bloom, at least until the humidity kicks into high gear and we have a mud-and-worm-scented sauna.  I like
watching the little bunny rabbits hopping around and nibbling grass, until they find the taste of my barely
sprouted flowers more to their liking, razoring the tender shoots down to the ground with their big, sharp
bunny teeth.  I'm glad when the days start getting longer, unless I stayed up too late the night before and
couldn't get to sleep because the birds began making a racket with that pesky Dawn Chorus and the sun
started shining through the skylight in the bedroom and I couldn't find my sleep mask to keep the light out
of my eyes.  I like spring, but, no matter how long the winter seemed, I'm never quite ready for it.  You'll
just have to spring it on me.

love letters or hate mail?