Friday, March 13, 2009

False Spring

It looks so beautiful outside right now. Blue sky, fluffy clouds, bright sunshine. And the temperature is currently below freezing.

I always assumed the term "Indian Summer," which refers to the occasional warm spells that hit parts of the United States well after Summer has ended, commemorated the fact that some of the first Europeans who sailed across the Atlantic assumed that they had reached India when in fact they were not even half-way there. But it turns out the term actually has the same racist connotations as "Indian Giver" - the natives of this land had different concepts of property than the Europeans, so a gift that was "given" to a person was still the property of the community, not the recipient, and could be "taken back" at any time. So too with "Indian Summer": it was given as a gift, and then taken back very quickly.

In years past I have observed what I call False Spring: a brief period like this, with somewhat warmer temperatures, followed by the final throes of Winter. I guess this also falls into that category, even though true Spring is only a week or so away.

Still, it beats the eerie False Summers we had a few years ago: periods in early Spring, before any trees or plants have fully leafed out, when temperatures shot up into the high 70's to low 80's. This created a weird, post-apocalyptic feel. It was unpleasant, and I hope we don't experience it again anytime soon.

I guess I should start getting some seeds in flats, and start plotting out this year's gardens. Planting season will be here soon enough!


dee said...

I learned a couple years ago that technically, an "Indian summer" is the spell of warm weather that occurs after the first frost. Before that, it's just "warm".

We are in the midst of our bi-polar March, too. I had the windows open and a fan going as the days were in the 70's and the nights in the 60's. Today it's in low 40's. We've had ice storms on St Patrick's day in the past, so nothing is certain.

whimsical brainpan said...

I am lucky enough to live in a place that has a false spring every year. It is nice to have but almost painful when it goes away.