FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Spring is the season that inspires poets and causes young men’s thoughts to turn to love, but in New England it is part rumor and part myth. “There is no spring here,” a British soldier wrote to his young wife during the Revolutionary War, “only a second winter of cold rain and sleet. It is not worth sending The Dave Clark Five to the colonies, much less The Beatles.”
But this year there is joy among New Englanders as the two-day season, which lasts for three months in other areas of the country, may occur this weekend, meaning residents of the six-state region will be able to enjoy it without calling in sick or faking an outbreak of eczema.
“Why don’t you kids go out and play in the rain?”
“The fleeting nature of spring here is reflected in the distinctive spin we put on common folk sayings,” says Edward Muensch, curator at the New England Heritage Museum. “We say ‘March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a platypus.’”
While the Northwest is widely thought of as the wettest area of the country, it places second in average annual rainfall to the Northeast, a fact that some say is responsible for the reserved, dour temperament of the native New Englander. “Who said I was dour?” asks Fred Twining, III, a descendant of the yeoman farmers of the region who built America’s first strip mall, Shopper’s World. “Probably some smart-aleck ‘grunge’ kid from Seattle.”
Spring is a season that typically falls between winter and summer in other parts of the country. In New England, it is characterized by first snow, then freezing rain, then plagues of toads. It is followed by summer, then hurricane season.
Spring is scheduled to end here at 11:12 p.m. tomorrow, after which it will be replaced by hot weather punctuated by thunderstorms and flesh-eating black flies. “Like we say around here,” Meunsch notes, “‘If you don’t like the weather, wait awhile, it won’t get any better.’”