Spring, you say? Tell that to my snow-covered patio furniture and the frozen mound of earth covering last week’s front garden excavations. Tell that to my friend Kathy, who just posted her annual “This is b–ls–t” photo (shown above).

Though these ups and downs of temperature and precipitation are actually quite common in Western New York at this time, there is an unsettled feeling to everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 90-degree days in May and maybe a freeze at the end of July, followed by a monsoon.

We Great Lake-adjacent residents can be somewhat smug about our proximity to these large bodies of fresh water and the mild summer temps that prevail here as other areas in the U.S. are either literally on fire – or it just seems that way.

But weather extremes have found us. I’m not talking about snowstorms; we’re used to a few each year and the cover is good for the gardens. But last summer, wildfire smoke drifted down from Ontario and unseasonable warmth is more common at other times. Snow on the patio furniture in mid-March? That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Maybe it’s the fact that Lake Erie, the shallowest of the five, never froze this year. In the past, we’ve been able to walk out on the lake and check out the ice fisherman and their little blue huts. According to NOAA, Great Lakes ice levels are the lowest, at 2.7%, they’ve ever been since their records began. We had temps in the 70s in early March and my snowdrops were out the earliest they’ve been, with some blooming in late January.

What’s happening now is normal. Snow on the first day of spring is expected. Spring is never much of a season here at the best of times. Autumn is much, much better. 

But normal has become unmoored from its former definitions. So, in a way, it’s somewhat comforting to look out on the frosty white landscape.

Ahhh, spring!