No, I'm not going to quote Eliot's opening line to The Waste Land. It's not even April yet, for starters. Besides, this less-famous line hits the mark: "Winter kept us warm, covering/Earth in forgetful snow."
Now we have the gray chilling wetness of March air above the naked earth. The bare ground reveals all the trash that stayed planted under snow for the last three months, and the March wind blows it all over the streets, sidewalks and yards.
I bet I pick up more trash in March and April than any other time of the year. And it's all sodden, muddy and prone to fall apart into soggy shards at the first touch.
When I was a little girl in Wilmington, Delaware, there would always be a day in March that was warm and wet. You could smell the earth warming up and the promise of flowers, soon, soon. Back then, I loved spring. This weekend I remembered why. I went home to visit and there were five grape hyacinths and two daffodils in my mother's front yard.
This morning, the traffic circle at Marshfield and 50th has some bulbs peeping out of the ground, but it will be weeks before they flower. Even at 48 degrees there's no promise of spring in the air. Nothing but the gray chill that lasts until May.
It's the worst season of Chicago, bar none. And nothing makes an ugly Chicago neighborhood look uglier than spring.
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