The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

David Knepper

March 12, 2010

DAVID KNEPPER | Reflections on a winter past

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

– Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)



Could there be a glimmer of hope that Old Man Winter has finally gasped his last chilling blast upon our frigid landscape?

There is some consolation in turning the calendar to the month of March for it gives one reassurance knowing spring is but a few weeks away.

But, if my confidence seems too boundless or premature, please allow me to duck when you toss that fresh snowball my way!

Last week, in the wee hours of yet another frigid, dreary day, I was greeted by a “sun cheerless over hills of gray” (Whittier, from “Snow-Bound”). My destination was within sight at the end of my lane, and I quickened my pace to retrieve my newspaper and yesterday’s mail from a mailbox that had been brutalized for so many winters yet did not flinch nor buckle through so many winter storms.

But “what to my wondering eyes should appear” as I flung open the mailbox door but a 2010 Burpee Seed Catalog. That catalog was like a spring tonic, just as stimulating as my grandfather’s sassafras tea, which he swore would make your blood rise in the spring like the sap in a tree.

Now inside the comfort of my living room, I began to first scan the front page stories of my morning companion, The Tribune-Democrat. The headlines to the “Just Awful” winter story caught my eye. Then I remembered that today was March 2, with only two more weeks remaining of Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks.

I had already stuffed my winter companions – “groans, gripes, and growls,” – inside a Mason jar tossed into one of the many snowdrifts in my back yard for a long winter’s sleep.

After performing this mock funeral service, I observed that the days just seem to become less cold, dark and nasty – perhaps my cold medicine was causing me to hallucinate!

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