Spring mud

T.S. Eliot said that April is the cruellest month, but in New England at least I’d argue for March. Now in March, Massachusetts ballfields are bare…and muddy. Imagine being a New England kid who’s just itching for the Little League season to start, and all you see in the place of a field of dreams is a field of mud.

Got game?

As I explained this time last year, “March madness” in New England doesn’t simply refer to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; it refers to The Big Itch we all feel here in the Northeast as spring is in the air but not yet entirely arrived. This morning, the sun was shining and suburban birds were singing…and the temperature was hovering around freezing. Yes, we can see the ground; yes, the snowdrops and crocuses are poking tentatively out of the earth…but at any moment, we New Englanders know the weather will turn, we’ll get one (or two, or three) more snowfalls, and it will feel like January or February again, not the “spring” announced on our paper calendars.

Rhododendron buds

But, hope springs eternal, especially in spring. In the process of making travel arrangements for the May conference I’d mentioned earlier this week, J and I discovered that the 2008 ALA conference in San Francisco perfectly coincides with the Red Sox road schedule, so we’ll be able to continue last year’s tradition of seeing our hometown boys on the road (this time in Oakland), where we can actually buy face-value tickets rather than paying an exorbitant amount of money to set foot in Fenway Park.

So while Curt Schilling and Kevin Youkilis are blogging in Japan as they continue to train for the Red Sox international season opener against (yes) Oakland, I’m spending the in-between days of March looking forward to May, when the Red Sox once again face Oakland in Oakland, and spring will be here for real.