If he had he would have added March to April and named them the co-cruelest months in his poem, “The Waste Land.” It is in those earliest days of spring when the temperatures occasionally turn just mild enough to fool us.
At the first hint of the warmer weather, we pack away winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves. We turn off the heater and open the windows. We spend those rare weekends loading up on plants, seeds and fertilizer ready for our yards to return to life.
Our children even have their spring break the first week in March compounding the mild confusion. A few weekends ago, when those temperatures finally began to turn, we began the minor but necessary work of laying down mulch, turning up beds and planting planters. We sat back on our porch late Sunday evening toasting our early jump on planting.
Just like the weather, though. our success was short lived. It was still March and if there is one constant in Atlanta, it is a few more deep drops in the temperature before spring truly arrives. I think an especially bleak winter led to the error in judgment.
My mother, Mary Kennedy, never had such a lapse. Our house on West Wesley Road in which I grew up had two parts to the house: the front part, the original 1920s house, and the back part, an addition designed by my godfather, architect Kemp Mooney.
Off the back of that back part, Kemp designed an attached greenhouse. A wall of sliding-glass windows separated the playroom from the slate-floor, glass-ceiling room. During the winter and well into early spring, it was full of plants. I can’t remember the last time I saw a greenhouse in someone’s back yard.
These dips in temperature make me wish they were the norm rather than the exception. With snow flurries projected and sheets covering our recent plantings, we reluctantly pulled the coats and the hats and the gloves back out, though my son Thornton refused to admit winter has returned.
His school has given the green light for shorts, and once that decision is made, no temperature in the 30s is going to change the mind of an 11-year-old. Spring is here at least on the calendar.
As we endure the last few cold snaps, I am reminded of our children hunting for Easter eggs in mittens, dressed in their little john johns and dresses under winter coats.
It is spring in Atlanta; the only constant is inconsistency. I take no comfort that in a few short months we will wish it were cold again.
Buckhead resident Thornton Kennedy is a sixth-generation Atlantan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.