Jim Furlong: The False Spring

Jim Furlong: The False Spring

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We knew in our inner hearts that winter wasn’t quite over. There is lots of room in March for storms. Actually, until a few years ago the largest snowfall record in St. John’s was on a day in early April. Nevertheless, this year in mid-February there was one glorious week when the garden around our home was bare and warmth had returned to the sun of a cloudless sky.

Global Warming?

People talk about global warming being a new phenomenon, but I remember from the Books of Newfoundland a story about dandelion growing on New Cove Road in February. I myself remember a day back in the 1980s when me and a friend played tennis one glorious Saturday morning at Bowring Park on the 17th of February. There had been rain for a week and then two days of sun. There was still a bank of snow near the base line on one side of the court but it was still a lovely day.

So it was that in this year of Our Lord we were graced with “a false spring.” In mid-February the snow was nearly gone and there peeked up through the white patches the little bits and pieces of earlier times. The flotsam and jetsam of a summer gone spilling out from under the snow in mid-winter. There were eight golf balls looking up through the grass. There was a wine bottle there by the trunk of a birch tree and there was a pair of cantilevered pruning shears not retrieved during the fall clean-up.

There was also the ghost of a Christmas tree up by the shed and a small pile of birch junks that had spent the winter, not in the safety of a woodpile, but left under the snow. These things were kept company by a few empty beer tins. Passers-by must have thrown them in. There wasn’t too much junk really because we had cleaned up in late November for fear of snowblower-propelled objects flying around the property. I have over the years lost two windows (one of them on an antique vehicle) to the snowblower. It has also driven a couple of golf balls through the vinyl siding on the house. This year no damage to speak of because of our cleanup.

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False Spring

Now in the sun, me and good wife tidied up outside and even enjoyed the sight of a few returning birds. Later in the summer we would again hear the call of the loon across the pond. In the afternoon sun we planned a barbecue. We still had lots of propane. It was a beautiful afternoon, so we took out two canvas folding chairs that don’t usually make an appearance until May. Then with the warm sun of a false spring on our faces and the promise of a summer ahead one of us asked the magic question of spring; “Do you want a beer?”

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