A winter without snow?

Some things are nearly certain in the months ahead, as our winter winds down.

Our new governor, as he presents his first budget, for instance, no doubt will surprise us with a tax we never heard about during the gubernatorial campaign, be it a tax on groceries, medicine or something else we never thought of as taxable.

New London surely will have to move to tear down collapsing downtown buildings, no matter how delusional their owners might be about the situation and the risk to the public.

Donald Trump will not give up his wall, as a dwindling number of wall supporters remain delusional.

But one thing it looks like we can't count on for the rest of this winter is more snow.

Indeed, it may be a little early to suggest this, and please don't blame me if I jinx the idea here, but it's beginning to look like we are going to make it through the winter of 2018-19 with little appreciable, shovelable snow, at least directly along the shoreline.

Just a quick look ahead at the weather reports shows forecasts with little more than a suggestion of snow: snow showers. Otherwise, the forecasts include more of the almost spring-like weather we've enjoyed this week. The god of weather patterns seems to be with us.

Besides, snow in March, no matter how much, almost doesn't count.

We did have an early light snow event in November that seemed to set the stage for a long snowy winter, but then we slipped into a long spell of yo-yoing temperatures that always seemed to bring rain in the warm troughs of the cycle.

The Old Farmer's Almanac seemed to get the winter forecast for southern New England about right, although you might have expected a little more snow than we got if you read it last fall.

The almanac, in its description for this month, provides a good summary of the weather mood these days, as the light of day grows more insistent. With pussy willows being sold in the grocery stores, could the green beginnings of daffodils be far from garden surfaces?

The February Farmer's Calendar in the Old Farmer's 2019 Almanac, in describing a trip to the attic of the barn, where the piles of hay feed had diminished over the winter, reads: "One day in mid-February, by luck or barn maker's design, I saw a sign I took to mean we'd reached the season's halfway mark: Sunlight streamed through a hole bored near the roof's peak, a vent in the shape of a valentine."

I'm sure not everyone has enjoyed the snowless winter.

Those who labor in the snow economy, like snowplow drivers, certainly have had a bad season. School kids may not have liked the dearth of snow days compared to seasons past. But they might be glad to claim a full summer vacation when the time comes.

Aren't most of us a little richer for a snowless winter? Who missed the trudging, shoveling, scraping? There were some dustings, more than enough to scratch that mood itch.

The winter was good for New London Mayor Michael Passero. It's the first time in a long while I haven't heard a winter of complaints about emergency parking rules and unshoveled city sidewalks. It's hard to make bad snow decisions when there is no snow.

The region's snowbirds have had less to crow about this year. I imagine it is not quite as satisfying, when you're hanging out in your Florida den of escape, and you can't dial up coverage of snowstorms hitting the Northeast.

Our snowbird in chief hasn't made it to Florida so much this winter, because even he can see the optics of escaping to your Palm Beach estate when you are refusing to pay hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Curiously, we got more proof, over the winter of 2018-19, that the president's orange hue must come from a bottle, not time around the Mar-a-Lago pool.

I recently found a poem "A Winter Without Snow" by the late and great J.D. McClatchy of Stonington, who died last year. I would urge people to look it up, using some of the hours saved this winter trudging through and shoveling snow.

Here are the first stanzas:

Even the sky here in Connecticut has it,
That wry look of accomplished conspiracy,
The look of those who've gotten away

With a petty but regular white collar crime.
When I pick up my shirts at the laundry,
A black woman, putting down her Daily News,

Wonders how much longer our luck
Will hold. "Months now and no kiss of the witch."
The whole state overcast with such particulars.

May our luck continue to hold. And may God bless J.D. McClatchy, buried in Stonington Cemetery on North Main Street, already ripe for a slight tinge of March green.

This is the opinion of David Collins.



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