Ah, Spring!
by: Mike Lushington  

Ah, Spring! A gentle maiden, strewing flowers about her path as she tiptoes gently into the souls of poor, winter battered mortals. Her coming is anticipated; her arrival, a time of joy. Birds arrive from more southern climes; trees stir and buds begin to swell; the ice and snow disappear beneath the waxing strength of her consorts, the sun and the Southwest wind. Everywhere her nurturing hand is on the landscape.

Or so the poets tell us. "Oh, to be in England, now that April's here, " Robert Browning sang all those many years ago. Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, the great Romantic poets of the 19th century - all sang of the joys of this, the most beautiful, gentle, and blessed time of the year.

Well, all I can say is that none of them were on the North Shore of New Brunswick when they wrote their deceitful lines. So, I would say to them, "If your Spring is a gentle, blushing maiden, ours is little more than a strumpet." She waltzes in, hard on the heels of Old Man Winter, and bedazzles us with a week of wonderful sunshine. The maple trees pulse into life' the snow turns to mush and runs in rivulets down driveways and into every ditch and hollow on the land, pussy willows pop forth, and everyone runs to the carwash to dissolve the last of the winter salt, sand and impacted ice from their sadly misused vehicles. "Early Spring this year" we assure each other, smiling and generous in our enthusiasm for the wonder of it all.

Then, true harlot that she is, she slinks away. Old Man Winter chortles his way back into our besotted and miserable lives, very like an old terrier shaking us rats by the neck, taunting us with our delusions, while Spring smirks and slinks her way around the edges of our hopes, smug in the perverse satisfaction of having, yet again, tricked us into believing that somehow this year it would be different. We are left to hunker down, wise once again to the ways of her deception. April disappears from our mental horizons, lost in the fog and driving rain of yet another nor'easter; May blunders in under the same camouflage, to batter and abuse us into complete submission before (perhaps) reluctantly yielding to the uncertain blessings of fickle June.

April! May! They are such lovely names. They evoke images of all of those things for which we pine after a long, harsh winter. Unfortunately they are not deserved. Indeed, I think that they should be revoked, and replaced with much more apt, suitable names. To my bitter, cynical way of thinking, we should be calling them Jezebel and Salome, certainly names that far better describe their true selves. Or perhaps we should forget about naming them at all. Perhaps we could simply hibernate, ignore their presence and so not encourage them to act out in such outrageous fashion year after year. That's it; that's the solution: we shut the North Shore down for the two months, let them have all the temper tantrums and silly fits of seduction they like, and then return in the hopes that June, that rather capricious creature herself, learns that we are no longer to be tampered with, and so decides to behave in a way appropriate to that of a young lady growing gracefully into the maturity of a proper summer.


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