I know March is too early, far too early, that it’s the time of the year when your heart is too easily broken by 40 centimetres of snowfall surprise.
But I can imagine it anyway, outside the back door with the wind suddenly heavy with damp, that kind of damp that just eats snow and brings the thin crocus leaves fingering up through the lawn.
Besides, in Toronto, they’re talking about it being 20 to 23 degrees. Winnipeg, the only city in the nation where I’ve ever had the zipper-tab to my jacket freeze to the tip of my nose, is looking at 26 or 27 degrees, the kind of temperature it would normally have in June.
Maybe, just maybe, if the winds track their usual way, some tiny remnant of that big bubble of unseasonably warm air will trip towards us (without picking up vast amounts of rain-generating ocean humidity) and bless us with some kind of brief — yes, even brief — springlike weather.
And I know that in this province, we talk far too much about the weather, that we’re obsessive-
compulsive about what dread weather disaster seems to await us every week. (“CBC says 25 centimetres of snow? NTV’s saying 50, followed by 18 hours of freezing rain and a plague of frog-locusts.” “Oh yeah? Think that’s bad? …”)
Heck, I hear the weather forecast enough that whenever CBC’s Ryan Snoddon describes yet another weather system as “a juicy one” (something he does constantly: he, apparently, has his own particular compulsions), I just want to punch the radio or cave the TV in with an axe.
On a related topic: is it my imagination, or is CBC playing on our group weather obsessive compulsive disorder by sprinkling in six or seven partial weather forecasts into every single hour and a half of evening news?
On second thought, no, it’s not imagination at all — you betcha they are.
One day, they’ll figure out they should just have two weather-anchors on the desk, and occasionally hand a small fragment of the program over for a brief news report.
But back to our combined weather disorder. There are people who suggest that the weather matters to us so much because we are the children and grandchildren of settlers who made their livings in the outdoors; that if you were heading out to cut wood, you needed to know whether a blizzard was forming up, or whether particular winds were going to bring on sea-states that made fishing impossibly dangerous.
To a small degree, that may be true. But I think there are reasons that are closer to home than some genetic tagline.
We care endlessly about the weather the way a teenaged girl cares about the fact that her bad-boy older boyfriend isn’t calling from out on the road. We don’t care about what the weather is going to be — we care about the fact that, somewhere out there, we sort of know that the weather is cheating on us and kissing some sleazy Toronto barmaid with a tattoo and a one-room apartment on Spadina.
And then, when it finally gets here, it’s going to lie about the whole thing and all we’re going to get is snow, freezing rain and fog.
How relentlessly hopeful are we? Well, caught in the depths of last year’s grey June, you could regularly hear people talking about how Day 5 of the five-day forecast was promising sun and summer temperatures, and you could see people clinging, positively clinging, to that forecast, even though everybody knows that, in this province, the fifth day of the five-day forecast is so hopelessly anchored in wish-land that you’d probably get a more accurate forecast by throwing darts at a weather chart from the window of your speeding car.
But hope, well, hope springs eternal. (See? See that? I used the word “spring” again. And tell me the truth — your heart lifted a little when you read that, didn’t it?)
Here I am, arms wide open. Come on, Newfoundland spring.
See this hopeless fool? Break my heart.
Russell Wangersky is The Telegram’s
editorial page editor. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.