The First Day of Spring

For many years – I don’t remember the first – I’ve declared February 1 to be the first day of Spring.

This morning, here, it was near zero, 3 degrees at 8:45.  That isn’t Spring weather.  On the other hand, it was a bright, sunshiny morning, and it was calm, and the roads were dry.  There’s no slush at 3 degrees!

I’ve lived in this climate my entire life, so I’m as expert as anyone about life between 45 and 49 degrees N. latitude.

I’ve observed over those years that, while December has the shortest day, Dec. 21, January is usually the most dismal, even if one throws in the usual January thaw; even if there’s a blizzard on Feb. 1.

The odds are, at least, that the cold and stormy spells will be shorter and less awful…but I’ve seen bad snow storms as late as late April; and those who like to put plants in the ground are well-advised to wait until later May when there is less prospect for frost.

Those who survived up here had to have a certain amount of what we call “common sense”.  Mostly it worked.

Anyway, life is good, this day.

Happy Spring.

Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day, and it brings to mind a story my Dad liked to tell about a Groundhog Day in Grafton ND when he was about 4 or 5 (which would have been about 1912).

Here’s his story, to cap off today: Bernard Henry Ground Hog Day ca 1912.

The annual survival rituals after a blizzard.  Top: a postcard celebrating victory over an early Feb. ND blizzard in early 1907 (this would have been a railroad plow to open the rails); above, survivors of another blizzard at the Busch farm about 1916.  Grandma Busch is at right, the oldest four kids (Lucina, Esther, Verena and Mary) on top of the snowbank outside the house.


from Molly:  Here in MN, heading for a high of +10 today, -17 tonight with a windchill in the obscene range (-37 or so).  Hope you are well & warm, & possibly covered with fur,  Groundhog




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