The calendar claims yesterday was the first day of spring, but it sure looks and feels like winter out there. This morning when I walked Reggie, it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and when I walked to campus for my noon meditation group, the temperature was hovering just below freezing. Thermometers notwithstanding, for most of the day the warmth of the sun has been melting exposed surfaces, giving just a hint of hope that winter will be over, eventually.

Although I’ve lived in New Hampshire for about eight years now, I still haven’t gotten used to life without a proper spring. In Ohio where I was born and raised, there were four full seasons, and spring was one of my favorites with its riot of woodland wildflowers. In New Hampshire, we don’t have spring; we simply have Mud Season, a time when hunter-orange Frost Heaves signs are the brightest thing blooming along rural roads. On sunny days like today, what gets me itching for spring isn’t a hunger for warm temperatures; it’s a craving for warm, bare dirt with wild green things sprouting from it. Around month’s end, I’ll go stalking crocuses, planted greenery having to satisfy my yearning for wildflowers. It won’t be another month or so until the first of the flowers starts blooming in New Hampshire woods; until then, the ground is blanketed in white, not green.

Theriomorph recently described a malady that’s little-known outside New England: M.A.D., or March Affective Disorder, an annual depression that afflicts anyone longing for a spot of green before April. “We�re just worn out by this point,” she remarks, “hunching against the wind and slogging through snow in the dark, the ubiquitous mud our only respite – and that only between bouts of the year�s most energetic last-word storms.” Yes, that about says it; as I remarked in a “been there, had that” comment, here in New Hampshire “you’ll see snow in March, mud in April, and blackflies if you dare step out of your house in May.”

It’s heartening to have more hours of sunlight now: those hours of light are what keep us holding out hope here in snow-blanketed New Hampshire. But until the earth is bare, warm, and sprouting, part of me will continue to squirm with a different sort of March Madness, my inner eye fixed on wild blooms, not basketballs, as my heart yearns for the mild mirth of May.