On February 2, Beauregard the Southern groundhog predicted an early spring. So unflinching was he when he came out of his burrow, I browsed the Burpee catalogue with my credit card un-holstered. I turned the dirt in my garden. I pondered my plantings and my plan, and I pined for seed packets. I fondled my collard greens and Brussels sprouts and dreamed of tomatoes and squash.
February 12, I decided not to trust a flea-bitten, mangy rodent with the weather forecast. Ice fell from the sky and dashed all hope of putting in an early garden. What a fool I was to get giddy over a groundhog when the heart of winter still beat with cold precision.
It wasn’t the weather that had me down. It was my misplaced faith that frustrated me. Weather itself is a gift. It’s the ever-changing backdrop for the day-in-and-day-out routine. God gave the Earth sun and rain and wind and snow so that Adam and Eve had something to discuss, to anticipate, to forecast, to be surprised by, to awe over. And I wonder if they complained about it? Did they look up at the sky and say, “This weather doesn’t inspire me”?
I’m guilty of disliking the day dealt me. Thirty-three degrees and raining is the most miserable state of affairs I can imagine – denied snow, denied warmth, denied good hair. Horrors. My mother prides herself on her hardiness in the face of such dreary circumstances. For her, the worst weather is 95-degrees with 90-percent humidity. She dreams of a life roughing it in the Yukon wilderness. I dream of soaking up rays on a Costa Rican beach. We all have our idea of Eden.
Ideal conditions don’t last. Costa Rica has a long rainy season, and the Yukon tundra melts in the summer. Weather will always give us something to gripe about. A person, therefore, must pick one – and ONLY one – despised meteorological phenomena to berate, and he or she must stand by the selection no matter what the atmosphere does next. There can be none of this moaning about the snow then carping about the rain then grousing about the wind then complaining about the dry air then nit-picking the damp air then whining that it’s too cold then fussing that it’s too hot. Not even Goldilocks was that dissatisfied.
One of the best things about life is that the weather changes. Little else does. We spend years making up the same bed, cooking the same breakfast, driving the same route, going to the same job, pushing the same papers around the same desk, seeing the same people, viewing the same shows, being married to the same person, nagging the same children to do the same chores, nursing the same grudges, spending time with the same friends, celebrating the same holidays, eating the same flavor of ice cream, saying the same prayers, singing the same songs, indulging the same worries, watching the same sun rise and the same sun set. We say we never know what the day will bring, but except for the weather, we kind of do.
Beauregard wasn’t predicting an early spring. He got bored down in his same hole eating the same nuts. Beauregard came out to bristle against the breeze and see the clouds roll by and feel alive. When he saw the crowd of people encircling him, he knew it was winter. He decided to stay above ground and make the most of a nice day since ice could fall from the sky the next week. What a wonderful world!