Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. At the spring equinox, days are close to 12 hours long with day length increasing as the season progresses.
That’s all great… but where the heck did Spring disappear to this year?
Somehow, the earth seemed to have shifted while we were sleeping… or maybe it was such a gradual occurrence that it happened over the course of the Fall (that we also didn’t have) and the obligatory monster of a Winter.
Cold, grey and rainy… is about as appealing as fat, dumb and stupid, (thank you and farewell Harold Ramis). Where did the gradual transformation going from the bleak, chilly final days of Winter to the gentle entrance of that time of year when hope springs eternal… actually go?
Nobody seems to really know.
Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn (or fall) and winter. These are demarcated by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months. The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter, and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn. Spring, when defined in this manner, can start on different dates in different regions
In my childhood, we blamed everything on the Russians…
Turns out, It wasn’t them after all. Now, if you ask Al Gore, (which I haven’t by the way) it’s Global Warming… Well… if the globe is heating up… we sure aren’t getting any of that action.
In terms of complete months, in most North Temperate Zone locations, spring months are supposed to be March, April and May. The vast majority of South Temperate Zone locations will have opposing seasons with spring in September, October and November.
Astronomically, the vernal equinox marks the first day of spring, (currently around the 20th or 21st of March in the Northern Hemisphere, and 22nd or 23rd September in the Southern Hemisphere), whereas the summer solstice marks the first day of summer (usually 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere and 21 December in the Southern Hemisphere). In South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, spring begins on 1 September, and has no relation to the vernal equinox. In Ireland spring traditionally started on February 1st.
As author Jerry Sullivan wrote years ago from a piece called Spring Comes to Chicago… “The long, slow agonizing shift from Chicago winter to Chicago summer takes months, and there is seldom a day between late February and the end of June when you don't feel just a little anxiety about whether we are going to make it this year. A front moves in from the gulf, bringing soft breezes, warm air, and flocks of migrating robins and kildeer. Then the temperature drops 40 degrees in a half an hour, and four inches of snow falls in three hours."
I spent a day at Wrigley Field this so-called Spring where the humidity was enough to wilt a metal fencepost… The next game I attended… a Winter jacket wasn’t even enough. Geez!
Maybe it’s always this way in Chicago…
Hmmm… not as long as I’ve been living here… and that’s all my life!
In early April (08) Mary Schmich wrote in the Chicago Tribune…
Chicago has five seasons. There's summer. There's autumn. There's winter. There is, rumor has it, spring.
And there is the long, long, long, long, long season we currently occupy: waiting-for-spring.
Waiting-for-spring typically begins in March and often lasts through June, and, like all seasons, it is both a time of year and a frame of mind.
"How are you?" you say to the sallow colleague in the office elevator.
"Waiting for spring," she says.
"What's new?" you say to the hollow-eyed friend in Starbucks.
"Waiting for the !@#$ spring," he mutters.
This is often said with a sigh like a gust of bitter wind blowing from off the still frigid Lake Michigan, and with a masochistic tug on the noose officially known as a neck scarf.
"How much of human life is lost in waiting?" the poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once mused.
If he'd lived in Chicago, he wouldn't have had to ask. Chicagoans know the answer is, "At least three (blanking) months."