March: In like a lion and out like a lamb. This idiom has lived up to its fullest potential this year.
Earlier this week, Pittsburgh was walloped with more than half a foot of snow. I woke Wednesday morning to a virtual winter wonderland. Ever seen the movie A Christmas Story? Remember when Ralphie awakes Christmas morning to find his entire world iced in pure crystalline white snow? That's how it was here. It was gorgeous. Olive and I headed outside to shovel - something I actually don't mind doing - the storybook quality of our neighborhood was nothing short of a scene out of a movie. Stunning, really. The flip side to this story is that just days later as I sit here typing out my words, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and we're expecting nearly 60 degree weather this weekend.
When I lived in California, the weather was not much for a topic of discussion unless it rained or dropped below 60 degrees - at which point it got "cold." It was pretty much always sunny and therefore something you just didn't really notice. The fact that the weather was almost never an issue made it easy to plan outings without having to keep a keen eye on the weather channel for daily updates. I definitely took for granted the steady temperate climate. Here, in Pittsburgh, any variation in weather is on the forefront of discussion. About this time of year, the Steel City turns into a bunch of grumbling curmudgeons, cursing the cold and willing on the warmer weather of spring. I don't mind the winter and in fact find a quiet solace in the stark landscape. I see it as almost necessary, because when the sun finally does unveil herself from her long hibernation, there is a definite sense of appreciation.
Here, you notice how lovely it is outside. You make an effort to get some fresh air and enjoy the warmer climate. You take stock of the trees birthing, once again, their green leaves. When the flowers bloom it's as if you've been living in black and white and now technicolor has painted its magic on the world. Time is marked and does not just pass unnoticed. I like that.
Today, as we make our plans, the weather will most definitely play a roll. Big Red has been itching to get into the garage and do a thorough spring cleaning. He's looking forward to having the door open while the radio scratches out some tunes. I'm feeling an early house spring cleaning coming on, maybe opening a few windows to allow the stagnant lion air out and to make room for some lambs.