I can remember it. Clear as day. Every year on March 1st, even if it was snowing, my daddy would say, “Tommy, we can coast now. We’ve made it through February, that’s the worst of it.” He’d go on to tell me that even though we can get some major snows in March, and we did. Lort! 1968, 14 inches in one day and no power for a week on the farm back in NW Tennessee as a child growing up. My dad assured me March snows can’t stay around long and spring was well on its way! He was right.
Winter back there could be gentle or harsh. Even if we didn’t get a lot of snow, I recall winters as being really dead. Hundreds of acres of empty, harvested soybean and cotton rows frozen in sometimes single digit weather. My daddy would often be in his coveralls going out to break ice in the ponds so the cows could drink. Or, him on the tractor hauling square bales of hay to the wooden feeders out in the pasture.
Winters here in the Blue Ridge aren’t that much different than those back near the Mississippi River. The county I grew up in was as far west as you could go without dropping off into the Mighty Missip! Though we were about 4 weeks ahead of the seasons in warm weather and four seasons behind with fall and winter arriving.
I’ve never been much of a winter person, even back in Tennessee. I couldn’t wait until those hot summer days riding on my horse without a shirt around the farm and in the river bottoms with the sun blazing. The same holds true here in the Blue Ridge. I look forward to those late afternoon thunderstorms rumbling across the mountains off in the distance. Sitting in the creek near the house when it’s hot as hell and the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
Soon the time changes, the days get much longer, and we can say goodbye to the ice and snow and the cold winds blowing.
Welcome Meteorological Spring Class of 2022!