Winter Time and the Living is Easy

Dear Reader,

There was no winter this year in Boston. The Boston Globe made this pronouncement days ago citing unusually warm weather and fairly snow-free conditions all season. With just a few weeks before daylight savings, it looks as if we Bostonians may be able to make it to spring relatively unscathed. This weekend, we experienced a much-needed reprieve from the winter cold with sunny days and temperatures in the 40s and even mid-50s. Although it was only two days, it was clear that the city was happy to catch spring fever.

In preparation for the short springtide, I went on Google to search for outdoor events happening around Boston. I found a few farmers’ markets downtown and in Cambridge as well as a pop-up book event in Roslindale. Determined to do as much as I could, but constrained with time, I resolved myself to be outside more this weekend and visit one farmers’ market. On Saturday, I paced to the Garment District for their By the Pound thrifting event (more here). To celebrate the warm weather, I searched eagerly for shorts and light pastel colors. While I knew that I would not wear many of these garments until, probably, May, this past weekend I saw that plenty of people had already shed their winter coats and others were exposing bare skin—scandalous!

Garment District

Today, I took the time to visit the Farmers’ Market stationed outside of the Charles Hotel near Harvard Square. While I am used to farmers’ markets being set up under the shelter of tents or in a building, I was surprised to see that the market in front of the Charles was a cute little house. From the outside the market looked like a mini-, long red barn with a black slanted roof. Visitors could enter the market by climbing up a short ramp and entering through slatted plastic panels meant to keep the chilly winter air out. The market itself was a one-aisle setup with fruits and vegetables displayed in crates on the left and a cashier stationed on the right. In addition to the usual apples, beets, and kale, was also fresh pasta, homemade fudge, and buttery chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies. An older man offered to be of assistance in helping me choose things and another family member tried to entertain a young child in the back corner of the market. A cheery woman offered to slice off a piece of the goat cheese and fudge more than once for me to try. It was clear that this market was a family setup.

As I was leaving the market, I passed enthusiastic groups remarking that they have never seen a market quite like this one before. For a place as busy as Harvard Square, something as small and quaint as a sheltered farmers’ market certainly gets a disproportionate amount of attention.

Heading back towards Harvard Square, it was nice to people watch a little bit. 50 degrees and sunny in February is like a summer’s day. People were sitting outside. Although the tables and chairs have been stored away for the season, teens and adults were sitting on steps, leaning against railings, and enjoying the outdoor square that is usually nothing more than a thoroughfare in February.

While this weekend’s temperatures were unseasonable, I started to wonder why the winter in Boston this year has been so mild. It is normal for Boston public schools to be cancelled for a few days due to a foot of snowfall overnight or temperatures near zero degrees. I took my query to the internet and learned that Boston’s winter is so mild because, well, nothing weird happened. For example, the Polar Vortex that is responsible for persistent freezing temperatures did not make a pass at our fair city this season. Another common culprit for Boston blizzards is the nor’easter winds, which were AWOL. In short, the weather was stable.

A common complaint about Boston is the weather. Well, if this keeps up—then what’s not to like 😉 ! My hand is clutching my heart as I type this next part: tomorrow the temperatures will reach 60 degrees and the next few days will feature highs in the 40s. If you don’t get this excited about the weather, then please be super appreciative of the fact that you probably live in a consistently nice place. When the weather, your mood, or just life is this good, enjoy it while you can. I’m not so naïve to think that winter is over in Boston—a March (or even early April) snowfall is always in the cards—but I think that it is important to enjoy the spring weather if it makes us happy. Gray, gloom, and gusting winter winds are all too abundant this time of year. When we are offered a little slither of sunshine and delicious air, Dear Reader, then let’s seize the day.



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