WILTSE: In anticipation of the end of winter

We’ve all heard the expression that the older we get, the faster time flies. We have all heard that that expression is true.
Mar 28, 2013


It seems to be especially true at this time of year with a spring season coming in so slowly and winter seeming to be hanging on forever. Never have I appreciated the medieval poem, "Sumer is Icumen in Lhude sing cuccul."

Loudly sing the cuckoo indeed.

It seems ironic that time seems to pass very quickly as we age. It seems to be years ago that we last enjoyed T-shirt weather.

But we will enjoy summer in Michigan even more. It is sort of like enjoying a big steak. You enjoy it more the hungrier you are — sort of like after a fast such as Lent.

As my late friend, Gus Fricano, told me: “Just think, we will enjoy two summers and only one winter before we have to suffer through another winter.”

In our anticipation of warm weather ahead, it almost seems that we have two consecutive summers ahead of us. I, like Dagwood Bumstead, am eagerly anticipating the retrieval of the backyard grill from the tool shed with a great deal of fanfare.

There was a time (when I was a skier) that I was reluctant to let go of winter. But bad legs took care of the skiing, and I dread the coming of winter now and eagerly await the summer season. I tire of walking around the mall and am looking forward to marching around my neighborhood, although it is now more like hobbling rather than marching.

Even though this past winter seems to hang on forever, it wasn’t a particularly harsh one. We’ve certainly witnessed worse in past years. But perhaps what makes it seem so long is the relatively mild winters we have had in the past. Particularly last year, when we were enjoying 80-degree weather from the first of March until October.

In spite of my anticipation for warm weather, we don’t need that.

It looks like it is going to be a fine year for apples, peaches and cherries, unlike last year when they were practically nonexistent and, as a consequence, expensive. Somehow, the cider and apples seem sweeter and better if they come from Spring Lake or Sparta instead of New York or Pennsylvania.

I use a lot of apples, cider and dried cherries, all of which are rather expensive at the moment. I read somewhere that fruit trees produce extra juicy fruit the year after a bad year such as the last one. It seems that even trees enjoy a long vacation. So, I hope that there is no late frost this year so that we will have an especially juicy year.

This is the most drab part of the year, with the dirty old snow and the debris from the trees lying around. It’s ironic that it will be followed immediately by the most beautiful with the daffodils, tulips and flowering trees. I can hardly wait.

The snowbirds who travel south every winter can never appreciate Michigan summers as much as those of us who have survived the nastiness of the blizzards and slush. I’m like a child anticipating Christmas — I’m so excited waiting for the truly warm weather.

Have a happy Easter, and especially a warm and long summer!

— By Ralph Wiltse, Tribune community columnist


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