For about 24 hours, we had a thaw. We had sunshine and warm breezes and melting.
“I can smell mud,” one student said as she came into class. Another young woman walked in wearing shorts.
“Shorts?” I asked. “There is NO WAY that it is shorts weather yet.” Sure, I’d been inside the building for a couple of hours, but I knew it hadn’t warmed up that much.
Green Baseball Cap checked his iPhone. “Um, it’s 34 degrees out.”
“That’s warm compared to how cold it’s been,” Shorts Wearing Student said defensively. She was right. I guess it’s all relative.
By the time I got home yesterday, I could see patches of gravel on my driveway, and the tall snowbanks alongside it had shrunk considerably. Sun was glinting off the patches of ice, which were wet with melting. Objects had begun to appear in the front yard: pieces of wood that had been stuck under the tires of stranded cars and then tossed aside, stray mittens and snow shovels, and our Christmas tree, which I must have left near the front door back at the beginning of January.
I had just put on my boots to take a walk out in the woods when Boy in Black appeared, running down the road in a t-shirt and flannel pajama pants. “It was so nice outside that I decided to run home,” he said. He shook his sweaty hair out of his face. “Bridge Street seems way longer when you’re not in a car.” His apartment is 12 miles away but he’s in such good shape from Ultimate that he wasn’t even breathing hard.
“I figure today is the best chance for finding my iPod,” he said. “Before it snows again.” He began searching the snowbanks, the wet gravel, the ditches filled with ice and water. Within a few minutes, he’d found it: an iPod that has been soaking in the icewater near the mailbox for more than a week. He took it apart and sealed it into a bag of rice: we’ll see if that revives it. Boy in Black has great determination when it comes to repairing things: I’ve seen him work miracles with laptops that anyone else would have trashed.
It was still warm when Shaggy Hair Boy and With-a-Why arrived home from the piano studio, but as the sun went down, gusts of wind began clattering the wind chimes on the front porch, and I could feel a change of weather coming. All night, I listened to the wind pushing though the trees as a cold front moved in, and by this morning, a new layer of white covered the icy formations in the front yard. It’s still February.