Friday, March 6, 2015

That Elusive Season, Spring

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Well, it’s no doubt a nice thought, but here in Northeastern Pennsylvania we continue to deal with the Neverending Winter and layer upon layer of snow and ice and sub-freezing, sometimes sub-zero, temperatures. We’re well into March at this point and had temperatures below zero overnight once again, after a capricious snowstorm that wreaked havoc with roads, plans, and dispositions over nearly half the United States. I wonder if naming winter storms makes them seem worse. I have to think it does. How can you like a storm named Thor? Winter storm names are Olympian or from the stark, warrior-like domain of Valhalla. Let’s see, this winter we endured Juno, Sparta, and Thor, to name three.

We’ve had heavy winters similar to this over the forty-some years I’ve lived in this part of the country, but I don’t recall a winter where the weather was quite as capricious and unsettled to the point most weather watchers often were reluctant to make much of a prediction at all other than to tell us we were going to have bad weather. Really bad weather. Really awful bad weather. And sometimes these winters have stretched on and on, and what tiny bit of spring we had was rushed through and replaced by blistering hot and humid summers very quickly, so it seemed spring just sighed and died. Poor spring.

Spring can be glorious in this part of the country, however. Once all these piles of frozen snow melt away, and the mud is replaced by first delicate and then brilliant greens, we often have incredibly glowing, truly beautiful springs. I hope we are going to enjoy such a spring this year. We really need it after passing through one of the most brutal winters I can recall. I hope the weather begins to moderate. The temperatures certainly will most likely not be below zero again, though snow can occur here as late as May.

My particular grievance with this winter is the total devastation of a very carefully considered rehearsal schedule I created for a high school musical I’m directing. I allowed for winter. I had four “TBA” (to be announced) spots in my schedule to accommodate the fact that I am aware that, even though it’s called the spring musical, we rehearse in the dead of winter for a March performance date. You’d think the storms with grand names such as Juno and Thor would have appreciated that I acquiesced to their might. But that was not the case. I had provisions for four missed rehearsals. Actual number of missed rehearsals: nine. Or maybe ten. I quit counting.

High school students are remarkable people, and I know these young men and women will pull themselves together and present a fine production to their public. I wish we had more time to really polish their performances, to make them as bright as I knew they could be when I cast the show. Some might. Some will be okay, but could have been better if they’d done more work on their own.

In just a couple of weeks, we’ll make our own spring when our young, exuberant, energetic and talented cast performs their musical, a rousing adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which the band director at our high school has re-dubbed The Adventures of Tom Snow-yer). They will have a wonderful time, and they will have learned some things and made some good friends. I don’t seek self-fulfilling prophecy, but I am holding my breath that we don’t have to deal with another snowstorm the weekend of their show. This one would be named Ultima.

Now, that’s scary.