Here's the Scoop: March 26, 2008

Common misery
This has to be the weirdest time of year to live in the Catskills. Weather.com shows us that the average high temperature for March in these hills is only 37 degrees. Yet we crave more. A lot more.
Naturally, an average is just that — which means that expecting a bit of additional warmth during our late March days is not unrealistic. Premature, yes, but it’s still OK to hope.
Maybe it’s just because we’re still deep in the midst of a lousy year, but this winter seems worse than most. Or maybe every winter appears awful when there’s no end in sight.
What’s really made this winter tough is the fact that we had more ice than snow. It was pretty cold, but outdoor activities have been limited by the fact that during 75 percent of the season, the Catskills have been one giant glacier.
I just checked the 10-day forecast (you’d think I’d know better by now — these are either terribly inaccurate, or they annoy me when I don’t like what I’m reading) and the outlook could be for any month in the Catskills from October through April — cold and snowy. With a good chance of ice. A real spirit-booster!

You’ve got a ’tude
Speaking of spirits, I find this to be the most dangerous time of year in the region. And not just because of the lingering ice. What I’m talking about are the pitfalls caused by bad attitudes.
Think about it, how many times in the past few weeks has someone ripped your head off for no good reason? Afterwards, they get a dazed look and stammer, “Sorry, the weather has really got me down.” I’m sure you’ve been involved in such a situation — as either the snapper or snappee.
The lingering cold makes me feel sorry for the hardy (read: crazy) souls who plan to hit local streams next Tuesday on the opening day of trout season. I used to be among those dedicated souls who fished on opening day, no matter what the conditions. I’m proud to say I’m no longer a sucker. My fishing these days involves temperatures in the 70s or above. For days chillier than this, my fishing involves the TV remote control.

Reel me in
Watching fishing shows has several advantages over the real thing. First, the viewer never has to with any hard-to-remove fish scent. That’s a good thing. Nor does the viewer have to “kiss” a particularly large fish, as the pros do on TV. I draw the line there. Plus, TV angling involves catching a fish on just about every cast. That removes a lot of the boredom from the sport.
On the bright side of all this lousy weather is the fact that the continued cold and snow means there are lots of chores we can’t do. Yes!
Once the lawn mowing cycle starts, it doesn’t end for a long time. That’s especially welcome this year when the cost of filling a five-gallon can of gas rivals a mortgage payment.
The annual rite of outdoor cleanups also must be delayed by crappy conditions. That’s too bad…ha, ha.
The really cool thing that I enjoy about an “extended winter” is how it tends to bring out people’s competitive nature. When you complain to someone in late March that the days should be warmer, it’s guaranteed that someone will mention a cold and snowy time they’ve experienced much later in the year.
For instance, I like to refer to an April 1 about a dozen years ago when we were starting a home renovation project and we received 18 inches of snow. Memorable.
A friend always points to a Mother’s Day when her family watched a steady snowfall all day. My own mother likes to recall selling poppies on Memorial Day amid snowflakes.
I remember in my teen years, during “summer” work on a farm, when we went home at lunch to grab knit caps to ward off the cold and flurries. It was June.
But I have a story that tops even my own tales — speaking about late snowfalls — I remember when it used to snow on Christmas! Those were the days.