London Showers, April Flowers

Winter has been difficult in the Midwest. The snow missing at Christmas came around New Year’s Day and frequently thereafter. Cold, damp weather set the stage for too many sweeping bad storms. Record-setting snowfalls kept kids out of school, wrecked weekend plans and created terrible trials for those without financial, physical, or emotional resources.

Two weeks ago, after a stretch of melting temperatures uncovered winter mold and dirt, I flew to London. Red-eyed and tired from losing a night’s sleep my traveling companions and I perked up during the drive from Heathrow. The weather was cool and misty but tulips, daffodils, forsythia, crabapple trees, and other flowering plants showed off their colors. Spring. Not the semi-tropical greenery of Florida, but the blooms we treasure at home.

The weather was typical of London at this time of year. Most photos have that look of normally proportioned people wearing too many clothes. I left heavy sweaters and gloves at home so I wore layers of everything else in my suitcase. If the flowers weren’t enough to forgive the lousy wind and rain, the sight of baby lambs running and jumping in fields along the roadways had us smiling. Nothing like a pasture of all those fluffy ewes and their lambs to charm city dwellers.

Twenty-two hours after unpacking extremely wet snow began falling in our hometown. Whatever progress spring had made in claiming its place disappeared under ten inches of the stuff before wind gusts and icy rain mucked up the place. To add insult, the storm was so strong that it carried dust from Texas creating yellowish-tan ‘snirt’. The media loved telling the story. Untangling the dog’s leash from a bare branch tree I slipped in the stuff ending a personal record-breaking season of walking about outside without a fall.

That awful mess is mostly gone. We won’t have flowers in our yards this weekend for Easter egg hunts, but at least we won’t need to wear parkas and boots. The blessing of daffodils and tulips is still to come. If not I’m heading back to London.

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