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March 20, 2014

In Our Opinion: Spring is finally here ... well, sort of

The Daily Star

---- — Hope, they say, springs eternal.

However, given winter’s seemingly eternal grip on our whereabouts, even this first day of spring finds us wary rather than hopeful.

While the forecast for today — cloudy with a high of 42 degrees — is still a vast improvement over what we have been getting lately, we’re not exactly doing spring dances quite yet. Beginning Sunday, according to the weather mavens, the thermometer won’t be getting over freezing until at least Thursday.

The optimism we expressed in this space on March 8, when Daylight Saving Time commenced, has been as low lately as the mercury.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” wrote Frances Hodgson Burnett. “It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine.”

All well and good, of course, if one is fond of damp sunshine.

But it is rather difficult to imagine around here when the piles of icy snow pushed to the side of parking lots show little signs of melting any time soon.

Forgive us if we seem a bit crabby on this first day of spring, but there is a rich tradition for that sort of thing among the curmudgeons who put words on paper (or computer screens). E.B. White, author of the uplifting children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” apparently didn’t think much of the occasion.

“The first day of spring,” White wrote, “was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.”

Almost as grumpy was the late Millard Kaufman, co-creator of the optimistically nearsighted cartoon character “Mr. Magoo.”

“I glanced out the window at the signs of spring,” Kaufman wrote. “The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding, the sun was almost bright.”

And Ernest Hemingway took a back seat to nobody when it came to springtime ennui.

“When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring,” wrote Hemingway, “it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

“In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.”

Fortunately, not all literary types have been so down on spring as Hemingway and the creators of “Charlotte’s Web” or “Mr. Magoo.” A.A. Milne, whose “Winnie-the-Pooh” has delighted children and their parents since the mid-1920s, gave us comfort.

“She turned to the sunlight

“And shook her yellow head,

“And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

Our hope springs, if not eternal, then at least for the next three months, that spring will finally conquer winter, after all.