Signs point to spring approaching

By Karl Terry: CNJ columnist

The signs are a bit mixed but spring may be lurking out there somewhere.

I began to ponder spring the other morning as I left the warmth of my home to brave 19-degree temperatures and frost on my windshield that took a lot longer to scrape than I anticipated.

After starting the car the first sign of spring was immediately apparent as the air conditioning began to blow. Oh yeah, not only had we run the air conditioning the afternoon before, we had opened the sunroof as well. At least I had closed the lid.

The next sign of impending spring was a pair of robins working the frosty yard of a neighbor. Yep, the red-breasted birds, said to be a sure sign of spring, always show up about the time a winter blast arrives. True to form a little while later it was snowing like crazy.

That evening I drove home on icy roads.

Another sign that spring may be here is that I left a jacket at work recently, meaning it was warm enough to take it off and forget it at the end of the day. Still more evidence, my wife left her coat in the backseat of the car I was driving. She missed it when the snowstorm was at its height.

One of the most infallible signs of spring just occurred in the last few days, however. The Girl Scout cookies I ordered in January arrived.

My backyard is looking very spring-like as well. The snow has melted and the trash the dog has hoarded in the corners all winter is visible. The ground is soft enough for the canine to do a little digging in all the wrong places and the dog droppings are everywhere. The wood pile in the backyard that was stacked high in August is picked over and scattered along the fence. It looks like I’ve got about a month of weekends ahead of me just to retake the backyard.

We’ve definitely had a strange winter, though. It’s been wetter and colder, with snow staying on the ground for a month now, than normal. The other thing I’ve noticed is that we haven’t had nearly as many bad wind days this spring. Blame it all on El Ni