A gift from Canada

April 08, 2007

The whole bunny-Easter connection is finally starting to make sense, thanks to the weather: If you wore an Easter bonnet made of rabbit's fur, you might just be able to keep warm today.

Chaucer wrote about April's sweet showers, and Walt Whitman about lilacs blooming in the dooryard, but this year our money goes to T. S. Eliot, who managed to see the gloom behind the cheer every time and reminded us that April is the cruelest month.

But the cruelty has more to do with expectations than with meteorology. (Horribly pinched-up tulips undoubtedly play some role, too.) Cold weather in April is like warm weather in March: Everybody talks about it as if the world has gone haywire, but it's really not that unusual. (Actually, that goes for snow in February, too. Marylanders seem to be more often surprised by the weather than just about anyone around.)

You know this can't last. You know the furnace is going to be still any day now. You know the crabgrass is poised. You know you've seen snow on Opening Day before, so how bad can tomorrow be at Camden Yards? Give it a week - or two - or five - and summer's swelter will be beckoning.

It's funny, though, isn't it, how the air in the house seems so stale, now that you could have opened the windows, if only the weather had cooperated? Well, the good news is, if you live in an old house and you haven't taken the storm windows down yet, now you can pretend that was your plan all along.

Here's one way to enjoy the day: Don't worry about dragging the porch furniture out.

People who don't believe in global warming love to make fun of everyone else on days like this. That leads to counterarguments about statistics and averages and whatnot - but all of this misses the point.

Who isn't secretly thrilled by something as ubiquitous as the weather suddenly seeming so, well, dramatic? That goes for both sides, really. The fate of the planet is one thing. But a hard frost on April 5, in a place as everlastingly temperate as Maryland, is something you can really sink your teeth into.

Something's up, something serious. It might be bad. That's cool. You can wish your Easter lawn games hadn't been forced inside, but you have to admit, at least unseasonal weather is interesting. At any rate, it's more interesting than crabgrass.

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