Winters here really aren’t that bad, considering where I came from. But, unlike last year, this one was miserable! I’m not sure if the winter was more harsh, or if I’ve adapted to the point of being a wimp. The Colorado Tribe (and fam in the North, etc.) can laugh all they want, but this winter really wasn’t fun here. Now, I can’t complain, at ALL. No snow touched the top of my head, no icy sidewalks hindered my path to work. BUT (and I can’t properly explain this to those who have not experienced it) there is nothing more cutting than a winter wind blowing off the Mississippi River. Or off Lake Pontchartrain, depending on the direction said wind is coming from. Truly, it gets into your bones and soul like a demon trying to take possession.
It was worse, weirdly, because we had these cold spells followed by these stages of mildness and/or warmth. Way to jerk the body around, weather. What this meant for me was a whole winter of being on-and-off-again sick. And a lot of cold-and-damp-induced spells of Aching Bones that I’m not quite ready to attribute to age.
All weather aside, Ol’ Man Winter really did burn himself out at Mardi Gras, just like the rest of us. Mardi Gras day was likely the coldest and wettest and most miserable that I got all season. Since then, I’ve not registered being that pitiful. We’ve had some ups and downs, weather-wise, but nothing extreme enough to note.
And now, Lady Spring is upon us! Spring is officially my favorite season in New Orleans. It used to be Autumn. I always loved the oncoming of crisp air in fall-time, when it was not hot, but it was also not too cold to function. You could smell the mouldering leaves on the ground and the first woodsmoke of the neighborhood fireplaces.
It’s different now. By my observation this year, fall, or at least that feeling of fall, doesn’t really kick in until…December…January. By then, in my head, it’s WINTER so there goes that.
So now Spring is my favorite, for equivalent reasons that Fall was such when I lived in Colorado. It’s the perfect in-between time. Here, in the Spring, it’s no longer damp and cold, but it’s not yet the seething wet wool blanket of summer. Right now, it’s 7:00 p.m. and a nice mellow 73 degrees. It’s not raining, but if it were that would be great because I love warm rains and thunderstorms. I’m on my porch and comfortable, not freezing, yet not yet working up a sweat with my typing. The perfect time of year!
Things finally got a little more consistent around St. Patrick’s Day. I took down the Mardi Gras décor and instantly replaced it with the white, orange, and green.
St. Paddy’s weekend itself was mild. I didn’t get my first sunburn of the year at the Irish Channel parade like I did last year, but I was out and about without a sweater or jacket, so that was alright by me. (I sat on my porch and played Irish whistles without numb fingers, which is a good sign of No Cold. It was all fun and games until I nearly made a bicyclist crash into a car crossing at Camp St. who was looking around trying to figure out where the music was coming from. I stopped, then.)
Rather, I got my first sunburn of the year at Super Sunday this past weekend. I’d been tracking the Indians’ day for a while, watching as they had to continuously postpone due to impending rain. I don’t blame them. They put their life’s work into those suits…I wouldn’t want to risk a drenching either! So this Sunday, Indians were on the brain. Despite the mission of housework yet to be done, we really couldn’t ignore the fact that it was finally a genuinely beautiful day and that this was something we’d yet to witness. So, spontaneously, J comes out to the porch, where I was perched, and announces that we’re going. Yay! So I tossed on some street-friendly clothes and a hat and ran out the door to walk into Central City and hang.
Unfortunately this spontaneity did not allow for time to think about sunscreen. Oops! Ah well. It wouldn’t be tradition if I didn’t get my One Sunburn a Year. That’s all I get. After that first time, I’m always wise to sunblock. So, the tradition still stands.
I would like to note that I, unlike nine million other people, did NOT block their way,
impeding their path and holding up the march, just to get a photo. A good photographer
is unobtrusive. I saw my opportunity from the sidelines and took this. Other folks were not so
respectful and it was maddening to watch. End rant.
So we had a beverage, and I got my first Sno-Ball of the year, and tried crawfish nachos and a homemade sweet potato pie, and held our first witness to the Mardi Gras Indians in their amazing glory. All while enjoying the weather and rejoicing in the warmth. And getting a sunburn, apparently.
Meanwhile, up at the folks’ place recently I made a new spring discovery! I had no idea that Crawfish build towers. Technically called Crawfish Chimneys, these little dudes, when the season is right, dig out and make little fortress-like hidey holes. So exciting! I could write a novel-length story about the Mudbug Castles.
Now I know that spring is here. Temps have been consistent and I don’t expect them to freeze again. Which means I’m in plant mode. In a couple of weeks I’ll have to make an errand to my nearby Garden People and thus repopulate my porch. This winter was not kind to plants that are used to living in the subtropics. I’m trying really hard to not feel like a bad terrible evil plant mama, since I did have some casualties over the winter. But I need to remember that I’m getting used to this climate, and perpetually remind myself that, when I was just discovering my green thumb in Colorado, it took some time to learn. And that I lost plants all the time due to season and weather. So, here’s to another year of learning!
Thus, at the onset of our second Spring in New Orleans, there is much to look forward to, and also things to anticipate.
What I don’t look forward to first: Termite Season! This house has ’em, and no mistake. The issues generally happen in May. When they come out and swarm, it is a crawling nightmare to behold. I’m HOPING that what I’ve heard is true: that when it actually freezes here, they’re not as bad. We got a couple of good freezes, so I really am hoping that’s the case. If not, I’ll go back to my routine of simultaneously brushing my teeth with one hand, in the early morn, and stamping out the little crawlers with the other.
What I’m looking forward to absolutely counteracts the termites! Gardening on my sultry porch. Watching life re-emerge from our little plot of land out front (that the Neighbors Upstairs and I cleaned out before Mardi Gras after the freezes). French Quarter Festival. Wednesday at the Square concerts. Crawfish burls. But most of all, for me, I look forward the most to languid evenings on my porch, as it gets warmer, and breathing in the almost overwhelming but so divine scent of the night-blooming Jasmine that pervades the neighborhood. Truly, I eyeball the vines I walk by every single day, just so I can anticipate when it’s coming.
This place is magnificent, in the Spring.
Featured Image: Cherry Blossoms, a block away from my place. Granted, this photo was taken in very late February, on my way home from work after noticing them en route to parades a few days prior. Things bloom here year ’round. But spring really is where it’s at.