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Always Winter, Never Christmas

"Always Winter, Never Christmas." It had been that way in Narnia for over a hundred years, as long as the White Witch reigned there.*

In Ontario, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the northerly province and states I've lived in, Christmas was just the beginning of winter. In Iowa, the first snowflakes fell the week of Halloween, and we were sometimes snowed in at Thanksgiving; yet there might still be substantial amounts of snow on the ground come March. In Toronto, winter hardly began before Christmas. The worst of it was in January and February, trailing off through March and usually gone by early April. In Massachusetts, even if winter was usually well over by then, late-season storms could dump down heaps in April; piles of residual snow often still stood in the shadows of buildings come spring semester finals.

Britain, in contrast, has clement weather. That there was snow at all this year shows that winter was worse than usual. Yet here it is, not even mid-January, and the prospect of spring hangs in the air. Tips of new-grown grass show green after the past few days' chill rain. It's not a mid-winter thaw, not here. Within the next few weeks, there will be daffodils. Here, spring follows shortly after Christmas**, just as the Beavers promised the Pevensies.

* If I remember correctly. I don't have the books in this country.
** And oh, have we had Christmas. We're still not done with it - we'll have more of it this weekend in D.C.




For those dictionary junkies among you, the OED is free for two days a week for the next month, thanks to the BBC's etymology show, Balderdash and Piffle! More precisely, the whole resource will be available for 48 hours after each episode broadcasts. (from 22:00 GMT on Mondays to 22:00 GMT on Wednesdays), until February 13th. The whole thing, available online, for your delectation. The OED is one of the things I use most through U of T's e-resources. I will miss my login. (Thanks to juniperus for reminding me what the tv show promised and I didn't quite believe when I heard it.)

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
dsgood
Jan. 11th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
mistake?
"Yet here it is, not even mid-January, and the prospect of spring hangs in the hair."

I think the last word might not be the one you intended.
owlfish
Jan. 11th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: mistake?
No, but it's funny! Whose hair, I wonder?
marzapane
Jan. 11th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
the weather is great here in DC, too! It's been in the upper 40's and 50's and even hit 60 the day before yesterday.
Have a great trip, we're really looking forward to seeing you!
owlfish
Jan. 11th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
I can leave my winter coat behind and travel light! I'm looking forward to seeing you oo!
marzapane
Jan. 11th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
you should definitely still bring a jacket of some sort though, but you won't need a heavy one if this weather holds up, as it is supposed to
sioneva
Jan. 11th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Although I must say, the south is still a very different climate from the north, particularly the northwest - when I left yesterday it was rainy and fairly mild but we had a cold spell for the previous two weeks. No daffodils coming any time soon to Manchester, I shouldn't think...which just means, at least, that I won't miss them!
austengirl
Jan. 11th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
I had high hopes for Balderdash and Piffle, the first episode was ok, haven't seen any others yet. Will try to watch it tomorrow, I just found the presenter to be rather irritating.
austengirl
Jan. 11th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
And duh, meant to say, hurrah for free OED access! :)
owlfish
Jan. 11th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
It's a great concept, but the realization of it was a bit hit-or-miss. All of the sessions with the OED team seemed to stilted and rehearsed - which they probably were, given the circumstances, but still, that's what meant to give some excitement to the chase, the reward of arguing it in. Still, it's a challenging concept to do well - and does, at least, dream big in the process. Also, much as Oxford is photogenic - well - they had so much time to film sunswathed Oxford that it makes the rest of the country look a bit drab by comparison, generally.

I've only seen the one episode though, this week's.
doctor_mama
Jan. 12th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
When/where did you live in Massachusetts?
It's glorious here today--sunny with projected temps in the 50s. The last dingy bits of snow from the December storm are almost gone.
owlfish
Jan. 16th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Northampton - I did my undergrad degree at Smith.
doctor_mama
Jan. 16th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's right.
a_d_medievalist
Jan. 12th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
We are on day 29 of "trying to break the record of 33 days straight raining." Glad I went to Philly for a few days!
noncalorsedumor
Jan. 12th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
... free OED ... ::drools::
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )