Yesterday, according to the calendar, was the first day of spring. According to my displeasure with the weather, it’s the middle of winter in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The snow, dirtier by the day, remains piled around our house. I can see the deer picking their way in the still deep snow in the woods around our house. They look sad and hungry.

I hear the plow at night. And then I hear my husband snarl, “Oh, no, it’s snowing” from deep under three down comforters.

The driveway has made several attempts to melt, only to freeze back into impenetrable ruts of icy mud as the temperatures plunge each night.

One of the sure signs of spring around this time of year, is the large black spider who lives under our bathtub during the cold winter months. I’ve been looking for him. A few days ago he peeked out of the drain, looked around, and went right back down the pipe. I’ve heard very few birds; their normally joyous calls are pathetic and uninspired.

How I long to sit on the back deck, swatting mosquitoes. I would even welcome the black ants for a day or two, even the black flies. The ladybugs are all over the place; they never left.

The brook thawed out for a day or two of torrential rain, but froze right back up yesterday.

This year has been historic for its pot holes. The road into Brattleboro brings to mind the Way West in Conestoga wagons. Our ancestors trudged across the country over some pretty rough terrain…but they didn’t have pot holes. You can risk head-on collisions trying too navigate around them, or take the chance of shattering your shocks when you try to go over them. Occasionally people in day-glo vests throw some tar-coated pebbles into the holes in the roads, but the stuff gets washed out by the next vehicle to come along.

In an attempt to maintain some level of fitness after being housebound most of the time these last few months, I try to go on my daily walk despite howling winds. My boots are heavy; so is my knee-length parka. My cheeks are frozen so that I can barely carry on a conversation. My hair is blowing all over my face. If I breathe too deeply, my lungs crackle reminding me of the slight bout of pneumonia last January. If I should run into another walker, we may grunt at each other, but no conversation.

I keep lapsing into an Andy Rooney whine.

The worst part of the ordeal is putting up with smug friends who are only too happy to call from warmer climes and report that the daffodils are better than ever this year. These same people sent me hate mail last fall when I was all excited about the first snow coming early and how beautiful it was.

There is a day coming; I know it, when I will jump out of bed, into shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers and go running out the front door. The birds will sing and the bugs will buzz. People will greet each other once again with a cherry “Isn’t it a gorgeous day!”