Oh you, Jack Frost

Posted: 20th March 2014 by Keith MacKenzie in Uncategorized

Ahh, blessed winter. That time of the year when the pretty snowflakes – all of them unique in design and appearance – flutter down from the heavens above and settle on the ground like a gentle butterfly touching down on a puppy dog’s nose.

No, sirree. It does not work like that, not if this last winter in Boston has been any indication. There are a few choice words I have for winter, and I don’t think I want to repeat them here for fear of the language authorities rapping on my door and giving me a gentle lecture about how my blog really ought to be a PG-13 thing.

So, this dangfangled, heckish, freaking, sheety season. This atrocious, never-say-die, relentless, neverending, caustic, irritating, abrasive season. Jack Frost and his nipping nimbulb minions need to bugger off right now as it’s now springtime. After five months of this dreadful stuff, I am ready for spring.

You know nothing, Jon Snow. Until you’ve been through a New England winter.

Scratch that. I am more than ready for spring.

I am most ready for spring.

I am spring.


Yup, it’s the first day of spring. Flowers are blooming, the green leaves are sprouting, and birds are chirping. OK, today, it seems kind of nice outside, but it’s still a tad gray out there. And nowhere near the warm, sunflowery, birds and the bees kind of weather that we’re – correct that, I’m – accustomed to year after year.

As a west coaster, I have on many occasions dished out jabs and uppercuts with malicious glee to our friends and families in the centre and east of this blessed continent, smirking ear to ear every time I see that weather report showing Vancouver’s 5C weather with a touch of sunshine and the rest of the continent being buried alive in four more feet of snow in -20C weather deep into June.

Oh, how I cackled, clutching my stomach as I did so. It was horrendously cruel of me to do so, and I knew that then.

Absolutely appropriate, since it does rain a hell of a lot where I come from.

I especially know that now.

We have been through two winters in metro Boston now, having been here for just over a year and a half. The first winter wasn’t so horrifically bad. In fact, we were amazed at how nice the winter was. Colder, sure. More snow, sure. But all in all, there seemed to be a lot more sunshine than Vancouver’s winters – which are often cursed with 30-day continuous rainfalls – and that sunshine brought the blessed Vitamin D like a drug dealer dishing out freebies. It was quite beautiful, actually. Boston’s red brick buildings shone, the ocean air was sharp and clear, the skies so blue they hurt your eyes – to take a phrase from William Kinsella and his Shoeless Joe prose (later to be the movie, Field of Dreams).

In short, I thought the winter wasn’t so bad at all. There was a monstrous snowfall sometime in February that was among the top two or three biggest snowfalls Boston had ever gotten in recorded history, and the state governor even took the unusual step of banning cars on the road for that Friday afternoon/evening clear through to Saturday of the snowstorm, because last time such a huge snowstorm swept through the area, no less than 100 people died. Seems that many people went out anyway, and with the bumper-to-bumper traffic that’ll inevitably come with a snowfall, the snow would pile up more and more on the roads until everyone comes to a virtual standstill. And then they get buried under all that snow. So people either freeze if they turn their cars off or die from carbon monoxide poisoning if they keep their cars running and the exhaust is blocked by the snow.

OK, enough of that dreadful stuff. It was a huge snowfall, and generally quite beautiful, and right after that we plunged into spring. Snow was gone, and we headed direct into long summer. It was great.

But this time, it feels literally like Game of Thrones. Deepest, darkest winter with no end in sight. It appears to be one of the worst winters Boston has ever experienced, but to my drop-jaw surprise, it’s actually not nearly so much worse than an average winter here. Check it out: “Not that much snowier than average, a little colder than average.

And not even in the top 10 snowiest winters ever.

Perhaps it was my status as a stay-at-home dad, without feeling able to go outside much at all and suffering inexorably from cabin fever, but I have been through some pretty difficult winters in my lifetime and this particular winter in Boston easily ranks right up there. Top three, alongside the dark, windy Edinburgh nights. Yes, that bad.

So, to all the people I mocked in the past, all you east coasters, I solemnly offer my apologies. Yes, this is a smug West Coaster offering an apology. Miracle of miracles. It’s happening. You’re not dreaming.

So, spring. We’re waiting for you. It’s the equinox today, and I don’t see much sign of you yet. Here’s hoping you’re doing the whole last-but-not-least thing, and preparing us for a bountiful harvest this year. Yes, spring, I’m looking at you!