La Vida Local: Irregular Notes on West End Life
Turning the Corner
by Rosanne Graef
After a February in which most of the entire winter’s action was compressed into two weeks of shoveling, shoveling, shoveling… I’m ready for a change of pace.
Although the snow did bring out the best in many people – a big thanks to our neighbors who always pitch in and help each other out – it does seem that there’s a lot of irritability and crankiness floating around as well. Much of this tetchiness may be ascribed to the current political uneasiness of “What’s next?” at all levels of government. But a good dose of it can be ascribed to that winter malady known as cabin fever.
Many of us try to avoid the earliest symptoms by devoting excessive periods of time to perusing the onslaught of seed catalogs that invade our mail boxes and fill up the inbox as soon as the New Year starts. Visions of flowers, fruits and fun in the sun without boots, Stabil-Icers, parkas, gloves and miles of scarves can only stave off the symptoms for so long. Around Groundhog’s Day the suffering intensifies.
Characterized by restlessness, impatience and a general malaise, cabin fever strikes most often during late winter, and a series of storms in mid-February is sure to intensify the affliction. The romance of watching snowflakes drifting by street lights rapidly fades into inordinate resentment of dirty mountains of snow. The joy of snow-day closures is quickly followed by thoughts of going to school on the 4th of July.
I myself had a major relapse February 21st, when the Press Herald e-mailed The Maine Forecast at 8:53 a.m. with the headline: “Heavy wet snow will cause problems on many fronts today.” But I rallied at 9:17 a.m. when the correction arrived: “Much of Maine will welcome back mild temperatures for vacation week.” These slumps and comebacks in relatively quick succession are hallmarks of late-stage cabin fever and can indicate that relief is near.
The morning finally arrives when you step outside and can smell melting! You hear a chattering crowd of sparrows hidden in a hedge as you walk to get a coffee. A ravenous flock of robins is busy stripping every withered fruit and berry from trees and shrubs along the street. Your head starts to clear, you take a deep breath and you realize better days are definitely coming.
By the time this issue of the West End News appears, February will be a memory and we’ll be on the road to recovery: March. Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday, March 12th, and the vernal equinox occurs at 6:28 a.m. on Monday, March 20th. What better way to give cabin fever 2017 its final send-off than to cross your fingers, hope the weather’s nice and head down to Harbor View Park to enjoy the sunrise on a new spring?