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Free Form Friday: Good signs of spring, bad signs of spring

“Free Form Friday” is my weekly non-Bowie related post. Come back tomorrow (and every other day) for more on Bowie. Otherwise, please enjoy…

It seems like every month this past winter had at least a few days in which I was able to walk around the Albany Pine Bush without a jacket. My weather app is telling me that there isn’t a day on its horizon when the high temperature will be below 40 degrees. So, spring is here, right?

Let’s just go with it and say yes. And that’s mostly good. Mostly…

March is the month that the roadside stands start to open. Roadside stands— drive ins. Seasonal hamburger and ice cream stands. What is it with me and those things? And drive ins. Nothing makes me happier than going to the drive in. Ice cream and drive ins. It’s like I long for the 1950s, despite having been born in 1969. Anyway, that’s all starting up again. And with temperatures staying higher, longer, some of them will stay open into November. So that’s good.

I’ve been able to ride my bike to work most of the winter, but I’ll be able to do that even more, without having to don a spacesuit for temperatures in the 20s. My favorite is actually when it’s genuinely hot and I don’t have to wear much more than shorts and a teeshirt, but that’s summer, not spring. Anyway, that too is good. Nothing makes me happier than riding my bike. Wait? Did I just say that about drive ins? It’s a tough call.

I’ve also been able to go out to eat, outdoors, every month over the past year. There are enough places with heated outdoor seating that I was able to once again get through a winter without contracting COVID. There were always options, but with spring come more options. So that, too, is good. (And COVID is still with us, so that part is no good).

But not everything is good.

The warm winter and early spring does not bode well for summer. Albany, New York is not going to be unbearably hot. It might get hot, but not uninhabitable. My concern is for the arboreal forest in Canada. It’s been burning more and more in recent years, as the climate turns warmer and drier. It was so bad last year that it was hard to breathe many days in upstate New York. Read the book, Fire Weather by John Vaillant. This is climate change, not a freak one off. And that’s no good.

Also, back to Albany and back to my bike. I read the news today (oh, boy) that my favorite downtown bike shop, The Downtube is closing. The owner is retiring that the space is worth more as future apartments than renting to the business. That’s coming on the heels of a boatload of other things closing, or announcing their closing in Albany— the Spectrum movie theater, The College of St. Rose, multiple restaurants. My adopted home town is in trouble. The connection to spring is a coincidence of timing, but that’s no good.


When it comes to seasons, I usually think one ahead. I hate winter, but I’m more anxious in the fall, because all of winter is ahead of me. I like being in the present in summer, but I’m more hopeful in spring. February is usually the nadir of all things, but it hit 60 this past February. Up is down. I can try to will myself to be optimistic. Ice cream, drive ins and more time on my bike are all coming for sure. But the world is a different place. We’ll see, we’ll see.

At the end of the day, I’ll take what I can get. Spring, ahead!

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