Buck up, Mr. Phil. Don’t let the sight of your shadow send you back into your hole. We’re all quite sick of the cold weather, snow and icy roads. For the sake of our mental health, crawl out of your hole and go find some golf courses to destroy.
My mom, who moved here to Idaho a few weeks ago from Texas, isn’t convinced that spring will arrive before July, if at all. She looks outside, sees the snow, shivers, and goes back to her bedroom to pile on more clothes. She has a long green robe, the thickness of a comforter, that she wears over her sweater, sweat pants and long-sleeved sweater.
One day, soon after she arrived here in mid January, she and my sister and I ventured out on a short walk to the Community Center. Within seconds of being outdoors, our mom began a steady and doleful litany of groans, squeaks and laments. Granted, it was cold. And, more than 30 years in Texas didn’t prepare her for the freezing temperatures she’s discovered in this new location.
I wish I could reassure her that it’s only the politics that are hostile. But, honestly, the weather—you get used to it. In my 20 years of living in Texas, I never got used to the heat and humidity. I looked forward to the fall, which seemed to take forever to arrive and turned out to be only a suggestion, a weak representation, of that season. In Texas, you’re very much deprived of seasons. Summer lasts almost 8 months and can suddenly reappear in January. With extreme humidity.
Here in Idaho, summer is shorter and can be quite hot, but it’s bookended by the most pleasant mornings and evenings. They make one forget about the 100-degree heat. But it is truly, almost nearly always, lovely to sit in the shade.
We point out the back patio in her new home and keep telling her about the glorious mornings, late afternoons and evenings we’ll spend there. When spring arrives, we’ll begin our traditional walks around the yard to observe the new growth and the early flowers. We’ll begin the vegetable garden. Mom says she’ll help out there, but she will absolutely not pick bugs off the vegetables. I’m with her. She and I will leave that to my much braver sister and brother.
She’ll sit on the patio with us on warm days and watch the dogs chase squirrels. Happy hours will begin some time in April or May and continue on into November. We’ll cook out and have our dinners outside. When she expresses her dislike about eating outdoors, I remind my mom that she won’t have to deal with mosquitos. She left those behind in Texas.
Yesterday, the temperatures rose, the sun came out and burned off a bit of the chill. I walked next door to talk to my mom and found her outside, on the patio, sweeping up the leaves. She said it was beautiful outside. She said she had to take her sweater off because she had gotten so warm with the exertion. She was cheerful and full of energy.
She’s already getting used to the weather.
But don’t dawdle, Mr. Punxsutawney Phil. Be kind to us this year. Be brave. Bring spring early. For my mom, please.