This is my twentieth winter in the nation's capital, and I spent many more years before that in significantly more northern climes. Although this winter put up a respectable fight, including today's dreariness and very cold rain, it's been over two weeks since I've wielded a shovel in anger. In my abundant free time, I've had ample opportunity to note the unmistakable signs that spring is drawing nigh.
1. The snow has melted just enough to reveal the full breadth of carnage that lies beneath. My wife's gaggle of seven roses in the backyard are prone and contorted into grotesque forms, like the bodies of the extras in Saving Private Ryan.
2. The heaping mounds of excess salt that were scattered in the middle of the Capital Beltway are simply large piles now. If you were to navigate the Beltway while simultaneously talking on your cellphone, popping a DVD into the infotainment system, and turning to separate your kids in the back seat, like everyone seems to do here, you stand a reasonable chance of surviving to endanger others another day.
3. The Boys of Summer are actually playing games this week, and the fellows who train in Tampa have even begun their annual suspension of the use of steroids and human growth hormone.
4. The NHL season has scratched the surface of its second half! It's remarkable that a hockey player must endure the hard hitting rigors of a nine month season for a fraction of the earnings of a professional golfer, although this delta continues to dwindle.
5. I regret that the little carolina wren that has called my yard its home for the past three years probably didn't survive this winter, even though I threw a steady supply of seeds out there. In brighter news, the eastern goldfinches are not only here in force, but some of them are already well along on their summer plumage. Sorry, no jokes about the birds--it's part of our agreement that they will leave no seed residue for the rats.
So take heart, gentle reader, this winter will pass as surely as the 1970s. In fact, today was much like 1978, when the Bee Gees spewed forth some of their most horrendous crap. It will soon be behind us, and on a not so distant day, you will again bask in rooftop and patio happy hours.
Speaking of which, this Friday, March 5, please stop by the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, located at 639 Indiana Avenue, NW, very near the Archives-Navy Memorial Metro station. I sadly cannot attend this week, because I have to navigate the unfamiliar terrain of a PTA fundraiser. Showing how far we've evolved from reliance on Sally Foster, at least the PTA has arranged for a cash bar. So please carry on without me, perhaps meeting as early as 6:30.