It happens every year at about this time in the Upper Peninsula: Spring teases us.
You wake up one morning, look out the window, and the sky is a royal blue, and the sun is streaming down on you–a long, lost, warming friend who’s finally decided to return after a five month absence.
The temperature soars into the 40s, and you head out into your yard to clean up the garbage that’s accumulated in the mounds of snow but is now exposed as the snow melts. A few birds tweet and flitter about from tree to tree. Neighbors, with their dogs on leashes, pass by, smiling and commenting happily on the arrival of spring.
And then, of course, it happens. Kind of like Lucy holding the football for Linus to kick, then at the last minute, pulling it away. Spring suddenly retreats, and the cold, gray, hard winter returns to reclaim its rightful spot on the Upper Peninsula calendar.
You’d think we’d learn after all these years, but it’s tough because our spirits are lifted so high by just the hint of spring that we want to believe. But no. The temperatures, as they have here in the last week, plummet into the low 20s during the day, and the teens and single digits at night.
And the remnants of this winter’s snowfall stubbornly harden into islands of ugly, discolored ice. All this while most of the southern U.S. is basking in the 70s and 80s.
So why do we stay? Well, some of us swear this will be the last winter we’ll spend in the U.P. but most of us just grin and bear it, knowing that one of these days, we will return to our gardens, we’ll be stoking our outdoor grills, we’ll be playing with our children in the parks, we’ll be wearing short-sleeves. Or less!
Is it masochism that keeps us here? Or maybe chronically unwarranted optimism?
No, it’s life in all its remarkable diversity. We have four seasons here, all distinctive and vivid. And each one creates anticipation for its successor. And if we have to wait an extra month or two for the sun to shine on us consistently, so what? It will arrive, and we’ll appreciate it that much more.
Keep the faith.