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Spring is here, even if we missed its arrival

  • Written by Joe Boyle

 

Many of us probably missed it on Saturday night, especially if you were out socializing. But come to think of it, even if you were sitting on the couch watching “Saturday Night Live” you may have been unaware that something has occurred.

At 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, spring was officially in the air. Yes, spring is here. It just arrived at a peculiar time. We had a sunny day that saw the temperatures drop to about 37 degrees at night. That sounds about right for our springs.

And what constitutes the beginning of spring? The vernal equinox, or the arrival of spring, essentially means that the sun’s direct rays are crossing over the equator from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere. During the equinox, nearly equal amounts of daylight and darkness are experienced throughout the world.

Equal amounts or light and darkness should be experienced every day in spring. But of course, we live in the Chicago area. Many of those spring days remain dark. A typical spring day here features temperatures in the mid-40’s with rain or a constant drizzle. We were expecting some rain this week. That is not an unusual occurrence in many parts of the country at this time of the year.

The cold, damp temperatures we could do without. Hey, I realize we have gone through a mild winter by our standards. We had a few cold days in January and February. We expect that. We had some snow but not all that much. I believe the largest amount of snow we had was in November. But that melted before we served our Thanksgiving meals.

December was anything but frightening. The weather was pretty mild all month.

Does this mean we will have a spring without snow or freezing rain? I’ve been here all my life so I know there are no guarantees. But the weather pattern would suggest that temperatures will continue to be mild. The sun is out as I bang away at my keyboard. I believe we all feel a lot better when we can see the sun a lot more.

We have not had a cold or snowy winter. Yet, I look forward to spring even if I know it’s not always going to be warm. I still take precautions because of the uncertainty of Chicago area springs. I still have a shovel on my front porch -- just in case. I still have my windshield scraper in the back seat of my car. I have had to use that scraper in April. Why bother putting it in the trunk too soon?

Neighbors tend to hibernate during the winter, it seems. I’m beginning to see more people walking down the block. Some kids were actually playing baseball just the other day. That would indicate that spring has arrived.

We are in late March and what that means to me is even if it does snow, it won’t be around that long. We have had temperatures in the 60’s a few times already this month. I think that means that temperatures in the 70’s can’t be that far behind.

I can’t say I remember spring days when I was a kid. I think we usually choose to remember the good times. During my youth in Roseland, I walked from 100th and Michigan to 102nd and Vernon to St. John De La Salle School. That was just over a mile. I do remember wearing my coat on many of those spring days. The mornings were a little chilly. It became a little easier when our family moved to the city’s Washington Heights neighborhood when I was in the fourth grade. I only had to walk two blocks to school after that. So, even the cold days weren’t so bad.

Spring brings with it a lot of expectations. Even kids can get tired of winter, especially when it continues to drag on. Easter is this Sunday and it symbolizes new life. We know that April is just around the corner. For kids, that means they are getting more anxious because they know the school year will soon be coming to a close.

For us adults, the mornings are not as bleak and cold. We may even be leaving for work and can see the sun.

But don’t put those coats away yet. We have been fooled before. But we do know that winter is gone and spring is here. And baseball is just around the corner. But that’s a column for next week.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .