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Spring time

Believe it or not, it is supposed to roll in at 12:57 this afternoon

  • A butterfly flutters past a bright flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A butterfly flutters past a bright flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell

  • A butterfly sits on a flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    A butterfly sits on a flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell

  • A butterfly flutters past a bright flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • A butterfly sits on a flower at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield on Wednesday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

A little bit warmer now ... A little bit warmer now.

Sing along with me, because today’s the first day, of spring — officially speaking, as of 12:57 p.m.

But don’t try telling that to anyone who’s been watching the thermometer “spring” back and forth in past weeks from promising to plummeting.

This winter went far beyond the doldrums, deep into the negatives.

Yes, this winter was 15 percent colder than normal, as degree day totals show. But that alone doesn’t explain why Punxsutawney Phil this year headed down not just his hole, but all the way to Acapulco. Instead of the typical annual week or so of frigid digits, this January in Greenfield meant 14 nights in single-digit territory ... with another four nights in the negatives. One of those was a chilling minus-11.

More than half of February was brrrutal, too: nine nights of single-digits, with another six nights of below-zero temps.

Even in March, that Polar vortex has given us six numbing nights, three of them down in the negatives, with another night of naught.

Add it all up: 35 nights of single digits or colder. And it had to be colder yet in places like Ashfield, Hawley and Rowe, right? Not only was this winter ludicrous, it also got monotonous.

And, as Yogi Berra once sort of concluded, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

No wonder we’re a little wary that the first robin, the first crocus, are mirages for an April Fools shockeroo. The month that came in like a lion might just leave like a T.rex.

But, heck, even after nearly 50 inches of snowfall, it is finally spring.

“Oh, really?” asks a dubious Betty Waidlich of Millers Falls, one of several shoppers this week at Greenfield Farmers Cooperative Exchange. Like most of them, she has reasons for viewing the coming of this particular spring with a certain hope, as well as suspicion. For her, the worst part of the Abominable Winter of 2014 has been the ice on the way to her horse barn.

And what Waidlich is most looking forward to in the season to come — should it actually get here — is simple: “Making syrup!” The sap in her sugar maples has started flowing, finally.

Betsy Emery of Leyden, escorting her black lab pup, Blue, out of the store, offers a similar reflection on this winter’s worst: “Walking a puppy on an ice rink on top of 2 feet of snow … my backyard.”

Emery plans to celebrate spring by “taking long walks without slipping,” but like the rest of us she isn’t quite sure exactly when spring will arrive in earnest.

“It will come when it comes,” she says.

A few months back, which because of this interminable winter seems like it was several eons ago, I filled a couple of green, knee-high plastic tubs with sand and placed them beside our hilly driveway, for times of need. Well, those tubs are buried deep beneath the snow, and I now wish I’d marked them with red flags atop poles.

“You just sit in the house and look out,” says Larry Roy, who was shopping with his wife for a ceramic heater and looking ahead to the possibility of getting out to play some golf … or even just to mow the lawn. “I think it’s going to move right into summer,” he worried, as his wife added, “I’m ready. I don’t mind the cold. It’s the sub-zero. I think it would actually be nice to get more than a day here or there.”

For Barbara Warden of Greenfield, walking out of the High Street store with a stack of small planting pots, there was obviously hope springing eternal that the endless winter might finally surrender.

“The worst thing was the darkness. … But now, you can hear the birds are back.”

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