If Winter comes, as Shelley said, can Spring be far behind? Well frankly, Percy, yes, it can. All depends on one’s personal, spur-of-the-moment perspective. And since I think it fair to say that most of us operate with a pretty short perspective much of the time, then we might justifiably argue with old Shellers that Spring is anything but close at hand, especially from the vantage point of late December.
(Let me digress at this point – and I intend to whether you let me or not – to confess that I had no idea that our opening phrase was from a poem, let alone that the author was the said Percy S., or that the poem was called Ode to the West Wind. Indeed, were it not for the online age in which we live, the quote would have remained simply one of those things that “Dad used to say”. I guess I could have phoned Dad and enquired as to its origin or even consulted a library (remember those?) but let’s face it, one of the things we learn as we get older is to recognise that some things just ain’t gonna happen – and that, realistically, would have been one of them.
Just how much of a loss to this, this, piece? article? post? – dash it all, what exactly is this? – anyway, just how much of a loss such a lack of quotational context might have been, only you can answer. But not until you reach the end, so forget I even mentioned it. At least for now.)
Where were we? Ah, yes – Spring not being far behind, etcetera. The trouble is, when you’ve had a few days of snow and sub-sub-sub-zero it seems to have gone on forever. When you’ve been off colour for nearly a week (especially the festive week) it seems interminable and March is just soooo far off. (Assuming, of course, that March is a reasonably safe bet for being out of the woods, Winter-wise. Not always a sound assumption, as I do recall seeing snow in June one year in the seventies…)
However, a slightly longer perspective makes all the difference. If we assume that Spring is, say two months behind Winter (at a given point, obviously, not constantly – that really would be like living in Narnia…) then that is merely one sixth of a year. And if I am, let’s say, well over 35, then I have lived through that period of time at least two hundred and ten times – so what’s once more? See?
OK, OK – I accept it’s easier said than done. If nothing else, though, we can take comfort in the guaranteed eventual arrival of Spring, its cast-iron inevitability despite its less than precise timing. Yep, warm sunshine, green leaves, picnics, grass-cutting, hayfever; it’ll all be back, I promise.
And in the meantime, if you’re sniffling or shivering, remember that Shelley really was right, more or less, and turn the fire up a bit more. It’ll only be a couple of months.