April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
- the opening of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land
I think I'd argue a bit with T.S. Eliot about the cruelest month after the March we are just finishing up - temperatures well below average, days not reaching the 20s, nights dipping below zero. We're heading into March and it seems like we are about two weeks behind our regular weather pattern.
Like everyone else, waking up to an inch of snow on Thursday didn't start the day on the right foot. While it melted rather quickly, it was a reminder that we aren't in charge; there's no other way around it, Mother Nature is a sadist.
Some people like to push the warmer-weather seasons a bit around here, but I haven't seen people walking around in their winter coats and shorts like in years past. Yes, there is something a bit off about walking around that way, but that seems to be the norm in March. We have a prime location watching people coming and going at the library, and many of them have that kind of wardrobe. But not this year.
When I was in high school I ran track in the spring, and we always had a meet the first week in April. While the weather could be cold - and one year we had a rainy-snowy mix during the first meet - we had been running outside and even started practicing the field events outside by now. It's one thing to run in the streets, but it's difficult to simulate long jump without a sand pit, and impossible to pole vault outside without the pits.
This year, everything is still covered in snow. So forget about baseball and softball having plenty of practice outside before their first games. The first local game scheduled isn't until April 8, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one either.
Central Michigan has its first home game this weekend, and CM Life - the student newspaper - had a story with a photo talking about the preparations. Most of the field was devoid of snow except for a bit in the left field corner, and the infield covered with a tarp. The field didn't look in good shape, but beyond the outfield fence was nothing but a white field. Talk about a bit surreal.
I was talking to a guy earlier this week who was bemoaning the fact he probably won't get his boat into the water until May. He said he doesn't go out much until the weather warms up, but he likes to get a couple of days on the water early because it means it's spring. This year he's not so sure.
It's almost hard to believe that Major League Baseball's big opening day is Monday. Looking out at the dirty brown snowbanks does not help to get into the baseball spirit. Thankfully I love baseball so I don't need to be motivated. It's just not as enjoyable to watch a game while wearing winter coats and gloves.
I've never understood why MLB schedules games in the north to open the season, but here we are with games in Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York and Chicago on Monday. Those games might not have weather issues, but it's still March so you never know.
I long to walk outside without bundling up, and seeing other people walking, riding bikes ... doing anything outside and enjoying it. But March has been cruel, let's just hope April doesn't follow suit.