COLUMNS

Spring break is nice, but spring is nicer

Gene Deason-former editor of the Brownwood Bulletin

Yes, I’m the person you heard last summer vowing to never, ever, complain about cold it is when winter arrives.

I stand corrected. I’m ready for spring. I’m even ready for the searing heat of a Texas summer.

And I’ll never, ever, complain about how hot the weather is. Just please don’t remind me I said this four months from now.

Conventional wisdom holds that since it’s March, and with the start of spring break upon us — along with daylight-saving time — freezing weather should be behind us.

We can only hope that’s true. According to experts who have studied such trends, Brown County residents aren’t necessarily out of danger yet.

On average, our risk of frost runs from Nov. 12 to March 23. But the first day Brown County residents are almost guaranteed we won’t see a frost doesn’t arrive for another month — April 8. After that, in all probability, we’ll stay above freezing at least until Oct. 28.

The good news, though, is that the period Brown County is certain to see frost begins Nov. 23, but ends March 7, which is today. So, there is light at the end of this long wintry tunnel.

Conventional wisdom, though, plays the odds, and the odds aren’t always in our favor. The weatherman has been known to surprise us before with severe wintry blasts during March. For example, doesn’t it seem like it’s always chilly for Easter? Or maybe we just remember it because we’re wearing light spring clothes to church, and we’re cold.

Easter does come late this year, not until April 20, so if the next few weeks are unseasonably warm, we may enjoy any cooler breezes that arrive by then. However, I’m not betting on an extended run of warmth. I’m definitely not betting on rain, either, but I would be happy to be wrong.

I’m ready for cloudy skies. I relish the earthy smell that low pressure brings. I savor the gusts of wind that suggest that raise hopes that rain will soon be falling.

I also scramble for cover when dark clouds build, and storm warnings are issued. I don’t enjoy racing to find cover for our cars, making sure the cats are inside, and hoping severe winds will skip us, but hopefully, a good rain will fall.

The season is approaching when Central Texas can historically expect to receive good rains. Such weather traditionally accompanies the passage of frontal systems that can generate violent weather as cold and warm air masses collide. Historical spring rains won’t cut it, though. We’ve endured drought, which is anything but normal conditions, over the past few years.

In conclusion, I’m officially ready for spring, even though I know it’s still a few weeks away. Until it arrives for good, I’ll have to settle for spring break.

During the years I was working fulltime, I experienced a few moments of regret about my career choice. I’m convinced I would not have had much longevity as a school teacher or college professor, but I sometimes thought it would have been worth the struggle to get a genuine spring break. Now that I’m retired, though, spring break seems no different than any other week.

It’s not just the seasons of winter and spring that are changing. On some of these things, we can’t get a break. While the flu season seems to be dragging on the allergy season seemingly got an early start. Either way, people are coughing and sneezing. And the drastic changes in temperatures we’re experiencing as spring tries to replace winter don’t help.

However you calculate it — whether it’s by warmer temperatures, later sunsets or a higher pollen count, all the indicators are beginning to show up. Spring is about to be sprung.

Even though March is the month when we welcome spring, the calendar and the thermometer often provide mixed signals. Spring is inevitable, sure, but the timing is always uncertain.

Whatever else the change of seasons means, we all hope it also brings plenty of good rain. Much more than those poetic flowers of May is waiting patiently for them.

Gene Deason is a former editor of the Brownwood Bulletin. He may be contacted at news@brownwoodbulletin.com.