Send help! Even if spring hasn't sprung, here comes the sun

By JOHN LORSON Columnist Published:

Last weekend I gave myself a sunburn. Actually, upon closer examination, it's more like four separate sunburns; one on each arm, one on each leg. And to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure the sun-affected areas would even meet the classical definition of sunburn -- they really amount to little more than a faint blush of oppressed freckles. Nevertheless, my arms and legs bear the undeniable evidence the sun has not forgotten Ohio!

I'm not going to act like I love winter, because I do not. I would not, however, wish to be without winter -- especially the kind we have here in Ohio -- because if we didn't suffer the cold, snow, relentless northwest winds and sickeningly truncated days of December, January and February, we would never be able to fully appreciate that moment in March when the spell seems broken!

The mild band of blush on each of my limbs is a small price to pay for two straight days of mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s! Truthfully, I was so giddy to peel off layers of clothing it's a wonder I didn't leap right out of my skin.

Fellow Ohioans flowed to the Great Outdoors like a thousand tiny icebergs calving from a great glacier. There were people everywhere doing everything and every one of them was wearing the same goofy grin. Bikers, boarders, runners and dog walkers took to the byways by the score. The low rumble of Harleys could be heard throughout the weekend and my brother, Jeff, rolled the tarp off of his classic Chevy and ran it around the block. Predictably, I rode my bicycle sans tights and rolled my arm warmers down to my wrists on a jaunt that began in the morning and ended in the afternoon -- thus the curious band of tan on each of my limbs.

I fully embraced every outdoor activity I could think of in those few short days of glory, save for just a few. Yes, I washed the car. Yes, I swept the patio. Yes, I unplugged the downspout drains of the leaves I had left in the gutters when I "ran out of time" last fall. And yes, of course, I walked the dogs. I did NOT, however, venture into the fearsome and horrifying land formerly known as my backyard to begin the ceremonial, hours-long process of raking and scooping what remains of an entire season of used dog food. We'll leave that for other, less glorious days.

Early spring fishing is another activity I took a pass on this year for the simple reason that in all of the dozens and dozens of years of my life that I've raced out to cast a line at the first inkling of ice-off I've never caught a single fish at this time of year. None. Never. Sure, there are able outdoorsmen whose methods and means pay great dividends in the early spring, but I have come to the sad realization that I am not one of them. I, much like the species I have pursued in the past, tend to move about only seldom and sluggishly when the water is still winter cold.

Alas for our glorious days of sun, come Monday, true to Ohio form, we were delivered right back into a days-long string of sputtering snowflakes and sideways wind, holding out hope that each dwindling gasp of winter will be shorter than the last and that March will somehow remember that it is obliged to leave us like a lamb.

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