Drew's Angle #2

"Here comes Spring. Here comes Spring. Here comes Spring." This has been my mantra for the last 8 weeks or so since Cincinnati suffered through its worst winter in recent memory.

Winter has changed since I was a kid. Gone are the days of when we would get 18-20 inches of snow and our elementary school would be closed for 3 or 4 days in a row, practically demanding that all the kids on my street bundle up and begin to undertake our wintery tradition — creating tunnels in the snow. These tunnels were big enough for a brave young kid to crawl through, and we reinforced them with water which froze into ice to make them sturdy, though cave-ins were frequent. We especially enjoyed making tunnels in the snow piles left at the edges of the street after the snowplows came by. These tunnels could stretch the length of two or three houses, sometimes

One of the best tunnel systems we ever made began at the south side of our driveway, ran along the front of our house, across the front of Mrs. Timberman's house (and driveway, too, since Mrs. T. didn't drive), and into the expanse of the vacant lot where it broke into a literal maze of interconnecting tunnels. In our heyday, a visitor to the street might hear the joyous sounds of kids, laughing and enjoying their snow day, but without a soul in sight, since we were all traversing our sub-snowline byways.

Not only has my desire to stay out in the cold weather diminished over the years, but my inclination to work with the frigid white stuff practically disappeared. Now, I see snow not as a giant blanketing toy provided for my amusement, but as a tiring chore leading to an evening of back pain after the shoveling is done.

And, it seems to me, the nature of the winter weather we get here in Cincinnati has changed as well. I think it began to change when our self-aggrandizing weatherpeople began calling it "wintry mix", their important-sounding way of saying, "We don't know what kind of precipitation we're going to get". Snow, which had no desire to be renamed, seems to have resented being re-badged "wintry mix", as if its flakes, which are stunningly beautiful when examined with a microscope, shouldn't be mingled in the same definition with slushy rain or ice.

So, after enduring a cold, icy winter here in Cincinnati, Spring is foremost in my mind. There was a tantalizing taste of Spring one Saturday a week or so ago. I actually opened the windows in my house to get rid of some of the stale air and let the cool (not cold!), fresh air in. I even drove my car with the top down, though at 58 degrees, the "magic temperature" at which my top comes down, I may be a bit on the liberal side. But, as quickly as that day arrived it has gone again, replaced with more temperatures in the teens & twenties.

Spring looms. We can sense it here in the middle of March. What falls from the sky now is rain instead of freezing rain (a big difference!), and the general trend for temperatures is upward. Soon, we'll be able to rediscover the outdoors and enjoy one of the prettiest seasons in Cincinnati.

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