Some weeks ago – three? Maybe four? – I put away my long wool winter top coat and draped the scarf over it and moved on to my light, three-season trench coat.
Temperatures were warmer and climbing. Snow had given way to rain. The rhythm of the season began pounding the unmistakable beat of spring. Bring it on.
It is alleged Mark Twain once said the coldest winter of his life was the summer he spent in San Francisco. Mark should have tried on springtime in southern Ontario for winter weather.
Monday’s morning snow was a kick in the teeth, followed by the curb-stomping of today’s cold (-9 when I left the house today after taking out the garbage) to be followed tomorrow by the continued indignity of more rain, sleet, snow and cold.
And what’s strange is where my head goes in weather like this, at this time of year.
Some of the coldest, rawest moments of my parenting experience came at rep lacrosse tryouts, including those that happened inside.
It was generally me and assorted other dads and a smattering of moms watching kids working out at Maplegrove Arena or Glen Abbey, the ice barely removed from hockey season, the floor icy cold and walls Arctic chilled. This was the era before the Toronto Rock practice facility was added to the town’s sporting infrastructure with its heated comfy arenas and actual seats.
And in those days the field and box teams were picked at the same time and usually – but not always – and it was pretty much the same core of players. Everyone capable of playing on the first or second box team – sometimes even the third team — also played on the one and only field team.
So the kids all got to know one another and the parents did too, for better or worse. Rarely but sometimes it was for worse, but we won’t go there now.
What I remember is the cold and the wet of the April field lax season – teenage boys running on fields ankle-deep in water at times, or turf lightly crusted with morning frost as the fog of our breath hung in front of our frozen faces, mixed with the steam rising from Tim’s double-doubles. I actually have seen parents at April field lacrosse in ski pants. And I was jealous.
Eventually spring in southern Ontario will arrive, as surely this season as it did over years past.
But standing on the rail platform this morning in bright April sun and raking January cold, I thought of lacrosse even though it is now long departed from my spring ritual. I miss it.
Spring in Canada is simultaneously cruel and rejuvenating, not necessarily in equal doses. Today was more of the same and finally, reluctantly, I threw in the towel before heading for the gym and put my winter coat and scarf back on.
Warmer, but thoroughly defeated.
Ice and snow are as much a part of spring here as daffodils and dandelions. I’ll concede defeat this week to the former while I regroup and await Mother Nature’s inevitable Spring warmth offensive. I declare my readiness for the latter.
Victory will be mine.