Spring: sprung

spring flowers

At last, spring flowers and motorcycle weather. No trying to feel the throttle and brake through bulky winter gloves.

This winter, in my part of the world, has been one to chill the spirit and numb the will. Officially, it was the second snowiest on record here. Having never had a single pipe freeze in this old house, this year I had two burst on the multiple sub-zero nights we suffered. But all that’s behind me now because today I rode my motorcycle, for the first time this year, without an insulating layer (or three) under my jacket, with uninsulated leather gloves and no need for the heated handgrips. Just 250 miles of riding, and no rush to hurry home to the warmth of the figurative hearth. Riding the way it’s supposed to be.

Beyond frozen pipes and weather records, there are other signs that we have emerged from an exceptional winter. I make the trip to West Virginia to my parents’ property about once a month, on average, year-around. Even in January or February, there’s usually a mild weekend good enough to make the 100-mile ride. This year, due to the foul weather and the demands of my new work for RevZilla, it was just this weekend, in mid-April, that I made the trip for the first time this year.

The trees were another sign. I’d hoped for better springtime photos today, but fickle weather hurt those prospects, too. A week ago, we had our first 80-degree day of the year, followed 60 hours later by an overnight low of 25 degrees. The combination encouraged the magnolia tree in our front yard to unleash its annual short-lived festival of blooms, which the subsequent freeze turned to sad brown litter on the front yard. I think the dogwood and redbud trees suffered the same setbacks. I have photos from previous years, taken a week earlier than this, that show redbuds in full bloom, but this year the flowering is anemic, no doubt stunted by this winter and its lingering aftereffects.

spring riding

On a 75-degree spring weekend day, everyone’s out riding.

A 75-degree spring weekend day ensures that everyone brings the motorcycle out, even the most occasional riders. I have this irrational response when riders wave to me on these first nice days. I actually feel resentful. I want to shout, “Oh sure, you’re out today. Where were you in February when I was the only one on the road and my misery had no company?”

Fortunately, I get over that particular branch of my insanity by early May. A few weeks of spring cures many ills.

That’s the best thing about spring. It may be tardy, it may be tepid and disappointing, but no matter how much we despair or doubt, it remains inevitable.