Whatever happened to spring?: Renaming Chicago's long-lost season

Whatever happened to spring?: Renaming Chicago's long-lost season

Yes, I did it.

I renamed one of our seasons.

Don’t you see? I had to.

If you’ve been around here for the last five years, you’ve probably noticed that we don’t actually have anything resembling spring anymore. Instead, we go right from the stone cold blast of winter into a season so bog-like that it reminds me of when the heroes in “The Lord of the Rings” entered the Deadly Marshes.

Here’s how J.R.R. Tolkien described that scene:

"Dreary and wearisome. Cold, clammy winter still held sway in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long forgotten summers."

Sound familiar?

Like anything you’ve seen outside the window lately, as the rain has hit us like an up-and-coming prizefighter? As the sun has been replaced by a thick, globby webbing of clouds? As moisture wraps around every branch of every tree, and coats blacktop driveways to the point where we can actually rent them out to local hockey clubs looking for ice time?

Now, I would change one thing in John Ronald Reuel’s description when applying it to our situation. It wouldn’t be “long forgotten summer.”

In our case, it’s definitely spring.

Remember spring?

When March would go out like a lion, and April would come in like a lamb. Not always the most well-behaved lamb, but a lamb still.

But that lamb’s been chopped.

Now March goes out like a lion, April comes in like a crocodile, and then May shows up, sporting both fangs and membranous wings.

It’s not a pretty sight.

Soon, in fact, we’ll only be able reminisce with our kids, “Yes, little Tommy, once upon a time, we used to have a season here called ‘spring.’ It was beautiful. Wondrous, really! The trees would blossom. The tulips would come up, bursting through the coal black dirt. The birds would sing. There was even talk of unicorns.”

And little Tommy would look up wistfully, tears in his eyes, lips slightly parted, mouthing the unfamiliar, long-forgotten word, “Spring.” He’d then stop and slowly look around at the wasteland that had replaced spring. The rain driving hard at angles. The temperature near freezing. The houses locked up tight, with windows closed even tighter. The parks empty, slides and swings holding nothing but wind. People wearing winter coats, and hats and gloves – and oh so near the end of May.

Yes, we’ve lost a season. I’m not sure where or how it was taken. I’m not sure if it’s ever coming back.

But I, for one, am not going to take it lying down.

No, if we’re now faced with enduring this bleak and dark stretch between winter and the few months of summer we still are charitably granted by the universe, then I’m going to rename it – so that we still have four seasons.

I’m going to call it “Moist.”

Yep, that’s it. Summer, Fall, Winter and Moist.

Though “Squish” is still in the running.



Contact me at jwarda7@comcast.net or @jameswarda.

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