As I behold my 18th spring in the Yukon, I have been spared the anxiety and frustration of previous disappointments that is collectively known as the plodding death of winter.
It is not so much another year of maturity that has bestowed a calm upon my psyche, it is just the acceptance of things as they are.
Spring comes. It always comes. As my son says, “You can’t stop the Earth from tilting.”
By the time the Lake Laberge Lions Trade Show hits, all of the snow is off the ground. Every year this has been true. So, I said to myself, do not fret if we have a late-April snowstorm. Do not worry about that freakishly large pile of snow at the end of my driveway. It will all be gone by (let me check my calendar) today!
Two weeks ago, when most Yukoners were grumbling about the blast of winter that snuck up on us, I offered a mere shrug. I still had my snow tires on, I still had my winter boots and gloves handy and I had no plans to de-thatch my lawn.
It helps, too, that I really like April and I dislike May.
April is spring; and spring is a spectator sport in the Yukon. Most days, you can see more lawn appear as the snow recedes. The roads become dry and that last ribbon of rock-hard ice along the curb shatters under your foot in an oh-so-satisfying manner.
Every April day is different as the land spends more and more time under the thawing effects of the sun.
And the water running toward clog-free sewer drains always reminds me of blessed afternoons, after school, racing Popsicle sticks in its current. The yet-unswept road gravel would be moulded into obstacle courses.
David Letterman’s Will It Float Game has nothing on our competitions that asked the question: Which is faster, a light-as-air cork or a debris-clearing No. 4 pencil?
Alas, the water dries up and the snow disappears entirely and we are left with … May: the dirtiest month of the year.
Yard work is not the nurturing kind of re-planting and lawn mowing we hold in our Rockwellian memories. No, it is raking. It is garbage picking. It is the clearing out of pine cone stashes and carcasses of little animals that didn’t survive the winter.
May is dusty brown. May is lawn fungus. May is (I steal this shamelessly from Anthony Trombetta) doggy land mines.
December, too, is a month to be tolerated. I hate Decembers. If it weren’t for Christmas, none of us would walk alongside tall buildings that have windows that open … know what I mean?
December, too, has a charming predecessor in November: a month that is all brightly coloured leaves and a nip in the air that reddens cheeks with a healthy glow instead of the milky white of frostbite.
Even though December is actually two months long (January doesn’t figure much into our tourism brochures, either), I still save my most fervent disdain for May.
Yes, May prepares the land for the beauty of June, July and August. But does it have to last 31 days?
Please allow me to wrap this up on a positive note: I shall find room in my heart to allow for the fact that May is … oh c’mon, Hookey, think! Hmm, I think I have something … a necessary evil.