Only now can we stop holding our breath.
Spring break came, and when it was over, it still wasn't spring up here. The birds came back, and it seemed like they were all twittering, "Whose idea was this?" Daffest passed, stretched out over two weekends to better catch the daffodils, yet almost none bloomed.
Now it's May, almost Mother's Day, and finally the daffodils are starting to pop in sunny spots. The ice finally went out, even on late-melting Lake Placid. Buds have appeared on the trees. You can hear kids playing in the village parks, and even though it only topped out in the 50s Wednesday, there was a certain warmth to the sun that made us relax, breathe a sigh of relief and think, "Finally."
A daffodil blooms and people play basketball Wednesday at William Morris Park in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
It reminds us of how much emotional tension we and our North Country neighbors have been storing up. It's not like we can't handle winter and maple sugaring season and the extended in-between time, but part of us, consciously or not, craves the comfort of warmth. It must go right back to the womb. When we don't get it, when we feel a chill that seems like it shouldn't be there, we get irritable. We think we've seen a lot of that among Adirondackers lately.
Most glorious of all, right now we can now look at a 10-day weather forecast - no matter whether it's the National Weather Service, Weather Channel or Weather Underground - and see not a single day in which the high is less than 60.
There's some rain expected this weekend and next week, but that's much more tolerable when temps are in the 70s. Plus, several days, like today, should be pretty much flawless for outdoor activity.
People want to get on with things they normally do this time of year: perhaps yard work or gardening, paddling or fishing, golf or basketball. Those things tend not to happen when it's in the 40s.
So let's get on with it already.
While this spring is later than we're used to, much of the reason it feels so painfully late is that we've had so many mild winters and early springs in the last 20-plus years. Two years ago, for instance, spring was the earliest on record; Lake Placid's ice was gone by March 26. But last year, the lake's ice-out was April 30, only two days earlier than this year. Both last winter and this one were relatively normal. For an example of a truly long winter, consider 1972, when Lake Placid's ice didn't melt until May 16.
It's good to keep that perspective in mind so we don't go around exaggerating how long and cold this winter was. Still, it's totally OK to bask in the change of season.