This has been an unusual winter.
I know I always say that in the Adirondacks unusual weather is the norm, but this winter the weather is unusually unusual.
I usually report on the Keene community ice rink schedule, but that has been a fool's game this season, with would-be skaters' hopes dashed every other day as the rink melts again into a pool of water. Ice-out on the Ausable river is going to be a joke this year. Who can make bets on when the ice will break up, when the river can't decide whether to freeze or thaw from one day to the next?
People are telling me that, despite the mild temperatures, they are sick of winter. An outdoor enthusiast I know says that even hardcore skiers have given up and are just waiting for spring to come.
Usually after Valentines' Day the worst of the bitterly cold weather is over for the winter. Usually. As you know, we often get tremendous snowfalls in March and April, but this is an unusual year.
Some people look at weather as a retributive, or karmic operation, putting an Eeyorelike spin on their predictions.
"Well, we didn't get our usual quota of blizzards this winter," they say gloomily, "so I guess we'll be paying for it come spring."
Usually, I consider this kind of talk nonsense, but lately I just say, we'll see.
I was in the Library discussing the weather last week when a woman came in, dropped the books she was returning into the book bin and stood grinning at my torso in delighted recognition.
"That shirt!" she cried. "That used to be mine! I sold it to a consignment store in Lake Placid!"
She was probably right. Last August, my good friend Marge rushed into my house waving this same shirt, which she had just obtained at the Congregational Church bazaar. She said it looked like me.
Usually, I am funny about secondhand clothes. Many women, when complimented on a garment, confess that they bought it for almost nothing. Confess? They positively crow about it.
"Yes, isn't this little dirndl simply fabulous?" one might say, asking a rhetorical question. "I picked it up at the thrift store for 59 cents."
Or, "Aren't these hiking boots amazing? I found them at a yard sale. One dime."
With me the conversation might go more like this:
"Martha, where did you get that hat?"
I like new things that don't jangle with other people's vibes. Also things once owned by loved ones-- anyone I would hug, or share a glass of water with, OK. But usually I draw the line at clothing even, as the saying goes, "gently used," by strangers.
Usually. But this was my friend Marge bearing gifts, and besides, the shirt was linen, softened by repeated washings. I washed it again and put it aside, until last week.
Dot, a young woman, came into the library and started telling about how her boyfriend, Hugh, gave her flowers for Valentines' day.
"Usually, I would love getting flowers," she said, "but we'd had a fight, and I thought Hugh was just using miniature pink carnations and stem roses to make me feel guilty, so I yelled at him and he got mad and threw them, and I started crying and was like, 'Why did you have to take it out on the flowers?' And I was picking them up and there were petals all over the floor." She laughed.
I never found out whether Dot and Hugh made up while she was picking up the petals, because just then someone else began shouting "I don't believe it!" and staring at my shirt.
"That's my blouse! I loved that blouse! I got it in Warren, in the townwide white elephant sale, back in 2007!" she exclaimed. "I'm so glad you have it!"
I wasn't. If she loved this shirt so much, why did she let it go? You'd think it was a dear mixed breed pet she had been forced to take to the SPCA, and now she was happy to see it had found a good home.
"Isn't that wonderful?" I said. I walked home humming a tune.
"How many, how many, have loved you? But I don't even want to know," I sang to the shirt as I threw it in the trash. There's a limit to how many times you are obligated to recycle anything.
Have a good week.