Goldilocks Spring

That’s what I call this time of year.  One day we need our woolen wardrobe of winter and the next day it’s, “where are my shorts?”

In Pennsylvania, we’ve been known to have up to a dozen weather seasons, which some have labeled: Winter, Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, The Pollening, Actual Spring, Summer, Hell’s Front Porch, False Fall, Second Summer, Actual Fall, and so on.  Others have said we have just two seasons: Winter or Pothole Season and Construction Season.

There are the “dog-days” of summer; “Indian Summer,” fake fall, mud season and all kinds of seasons in between; all of which have been around as long as there have been observant folks with a sense of humor.  This is not to say we are not experiencing climate change nor that it has to do with human behavior.

But Spring in these parts has always been true to its nature as a transition season.  Let me show you a typical weather week in Spring:

Sunday 31 degrees with plow-able snow,

Monday 59 degrees and partly sunny,

Tuesday 81 degrees with severe thunderstorms,

Wednesday 67 degrees with “where’s Toto winds,”

Thursday 84 degrees with scorching sun,

Friday 55 degrees and cloudy, and

Saturday 29 degrees and an ice storm, or not.

Yep, transitions are just that – not quite one thing and not quite the other, but something in between, or not.  Transitions might be the extreme of one thing or the extreme of its opposite. 

One thing we can say for sure about transitions are that they are unpredictable.  Therefore, we can little prepare for transitions.

Transitions are passages from one stage or phase to another.  Any birthing woman can testify that the transition phase between labor and delivery is welcome but shocking.  For most women it has been hours of your uterus entertaining spasm after spasm toward the goal of stretching open the cervix in order to birth a giant from inside to outside of your tiny little body, or so it feels at that moment.

So, transitions are good, they help us prepare to cross over, eventually to the next phase or stage of existence. But they’re also difficult because we don’t know exactly when we’ve arrived.  By the time the perennial question of the child-traveler, “are we there yet?” is answered, it just feels irrelevant, duh.

As the Goldilocks story goes, to my memory, she visits the house of the three bears while they’re away.  She has been on a sort of long journey and is quite tired.  Her hunger draws her to porridge which is too hot, too cold, and finally “just right.” 

Goldilocks ventures upstairs to the one-bedroom loft and tries out papa-bear’s bed and finds it too hard, she gets lost in the fluff of mama-bear’s bed, and finds baby-bear’s bed “just right.”  But darned if she doesn’t get found out by the returning three bears, who dismiss her into the forest.

What does Goldilocks teach us about weather seasons?  First of all, I believe we can all agree that the transition seasons of Spring and Autumn or Fall as we say here, can be “just right” one day and altogether wrong the next, too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry.

Next, I think the Goldilocks story correlates with weather seasons in that somebody else’s bed is never going to be “just right” like our own bed.  In other words, the weather that is “just right” for me is more than likely not “just right” for you or your brother, or cousin, or neighbor. 

Or does Goldilocks really mean that we cannot be pleased no matter what the weather does.  Some people like rainy days, and for other people, “rainy days and Mondays always get me down”, so sang the Carpenters.

I’ve heard folks say “we need rain,” while others say the ground is saturated.  And how do we reconcile that some people pray for more snow and others petition for a cease-and-desist order on snow until next year?

You’ve heard it said that, “you can’t please ‘em all.” So, whatever your pleasure, this Spring, I’m fairly certain that you’ll find a day that is “just right” for you.  Happy Spring.


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