This post originally appeared March 28, 2018, on the Chile Today Hot Tamale! website. (www.chiletodayhottamale.net)
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I found a bit of doggerel that goes something like this:
Spring has sprung,
Fall has fell,
And it’s hot as hell!
It certainly isn’t summer yet, but it is quite possible that spring has finally arrived. When I left the blustery weather of middle Georgia a few days ago, it did not seem very much like springtime. I hope that has changed. Here in the North Carolina mountains we find spring gradually inching its way towards the present. The deciduous trees are still bare, but the little shoots of growth at the tips of the barren limbs seem ready to open. It is quite brisk before dawn, but the temperature has been above the freezing mark, so spring may well be here.
The 10th grade class at my school is taking its annual trip to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, a heavenly place for those who enjoy hiking, camping, river rafting, kayaking, and pretty much any outdoor event. As for me, I enjoy the mega-zip line. It is composed of eight individual runs, the longest of which is ½ mile (805 meters, for you metric nerds), which I traversed in 40 seconds. According to my calculations, my average speed for that leg of the course was 66 feet per second, or 45 miles per hour. It is a blast, and I heartily recommend it to you.
At week’s end, my little charges will return to the school, and begin their spring break. We seem to have lots of breaks from school, breaks that I don’t remember from the dark and dismal days of my youth. We had the Christmas break, of course, but I don’t recall a fall break, a mid-winter break, or even a spring break. (It may be that we had a spring break, but if so, it has completely slipped from my memory.) On the other hand, we didn’t start the school year until after Labor Day, as opposed to the current practice of starting the school year early in August. I think I would prefer a later start with fewer breaks. Of course, what I prefer is generally that which will never happen.
Today’s expedition is a surveying class down by the river. We will measure the distance across the river without actually crossing the river, using nothing more than a transit on a tripod, a tape measure, and a little Euclidean geometry. Law of Sines, anyone? It should be fun.
Summer is my favorite season, but spring brings a joy that puts a period to the dead season of winter. I can put up with the pollen nuisance knowing that summer will soon be here. On the other hand, we can’t yet write off one last winter blast. I have lived in Georgia since 1989, and with the exception of the great Snowpocalypse of a few years ago, our most significant snowfalls have been in the month of March. So we still have a few days yet to survive before sounding the “all clear”.
I thank all of you who responded to last week’s post with kind words regarding the loss of our beloved Ronnie. I fear we are in for more pain, as my sister tells me that my mother is not doing very well, and is not expected to be long for this world. This is, in all likelihood, her last spring. However, spring brings the promise of new life, so Kathy and I will temper the loss with the joy of new lives, those of our grandchildren. Once again, the cycle of birth, life, and death repeats itself.
So I leave you this week with the joy that springtime brings. May you have a wonderful Easter weekend.