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MARTHA SEZ: Goodbye, winter, until next week

June 11, 2015
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Well, I guess the verdict is in: winter is over. Just don't say it out loud.

Hard to tell when winter is over around here, I know. You can't trust the planting instructions that tell you to "sow after all danger of frost is past." You and I know that translates to "when hell freezes over." I have seen frost in both July and August. I believe it is now safe to transplant the zinnias, and I am pretty sure we won't have another blizzard for at least four or five months.

Still, you never can tell. I have observed that Adirondack weather is always unusual. In fact, it would be unusual for the weather not to be unusual. As often as not, it is also extreme. Some winters, snowfall is scant, and skiers don't come to town. On the other hand, the snow has sometimes been so high I couldn't see the cars on state Route 73 outside my living room window; only the skis on top of recreational vehicles were visible above the snow blanketing the front yard.

The winter before last, it seemed everyone in town, myself included, had been to the Mountaineer sporting goods store to purchase clunky metal chains and spikes to strap onto their boots. It was that icy, and the ice persisted. Fear of broken hips ran high among Baby Boomers and members of the Greatest Generation.

Last winter, property along state Route 73 was for a long time a grotesque gray scape of crusted, wind-sculpted snow, like the surface of some unwelcoming enemy planet on "Star Trek." It remained this way for so long I found it hard to believe the earth would ever sprout daffodils and pansies again. I would have rejoiced to see pigweed. Beam me up, Scottie! That was only a couple of months ago.

Today, instead of frozen precip, I see neighbors, bikers, babies being wheeled along in strollers and ladies inspecting the last of the tulips, the first of the iris and white, pink and purple columbine. This is one of those springs that send people's allergies into high gear. It's thunderstorm season again.

Hard to believe there was a time, and so recently too, when we were huddled under layers of afghans, sipping medicinal herbal tea and adhering stoically to our New Year's resolutions.

Even though we have many of the same old problems in May and June that we had in February, and possibly even more sins, spring skies cast a new light on everything. You don't have to go out and start the car and scrape the windshield. If your vehicle stalls on some out-of-the-way stretch of road, you won't have to battle for survival until until help arrives. It's easier to believe in happy outcomes.

Spring work, a friend pointed out, is different from winter work. Winter work is maintenance; you have to do it just to keep even. Spring work is just as hard, but more positive. Whether you are planting, painting, or washing the lawn furniture, you can look forward to the fruits of your labor.

Strange but true that only a few weeks ago, as I sat here at my computer, the hush of falling snow was broken only by the sounds of the furnace kicking in, rafts of icicles shattering like glass as they fell from the eaves, and my own interminable mental monologue. In the back of my mind I was always wondering where my mittens were and how to keep out the draft.

Now the windows are open and I can hear cars and Harleys speeding by, children at play and from the back yard bird calls. Doesn't it seem we break a weather record every year? Ice storms, cold snaps, blizzards, floods, mud slides, heat waves, droughts, forest fires-what's left? What record can we possibly break next? Don't ask.

We can now relax and luxuriate in our beautiful northern spring, what there is of it. Spring comes grudgingly and is soon gone. Might as well make the most of it, since our beautiful northern summer brings tourist season, when most of us will be so busy we'll hardly get a chance to look up until October. Then it will be high time to stack the stove cords and decide where we're going to spend Thanksgiving. People will be saying, "Isn't this awfully early to be seeing Christmas ads on on TV?"

Enjoy it while it lasts, and have a good week.



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