Fake Springtime in Philly

March 19 — Neighborhoods are living, breathing organisms. And like almost every other organism, they hate the cold.

Last week, the temperature hit 60 for the second time this year. On my bike ride home, I stopped by Malcolm X Park to meet my wife, baby, and dog to enjoy the weather and extra daylight.

People were everywhere. Kids covered the jungle gym while adults and teenagers of all kinds (i.e. normal and crazy) filled the benches. The air smelled distinctly like the first spring thaw after a rough winter, which was occasionally punctuated by whiffs of blunt smoke from a nearby group of young men.

Since we moved to this neighborhood in January, the benches and jungle gyms have been empty (minus a few folks we’d consider “Up to no good”). Then, suddenly teeming with life.

But it was short lived. Now, covered in a damp snow on the second day of spring, my weary neighbors and I are back to hibernation mode.

Yesterday I scraped slushy snow from our front sidewalk, while our sweet elderly neighbor woman shoveled hers. She’s Jamaican and in her upper-70s. Earlier in the winter, I tried to be a good neighbor and shoveled her walk during a light fluffy snow. A week later, during a ice/snow winter from hell, I heard scraping, and saw Ms. Enid out there, chipping the ice from my sidewalk.

Yesterday, we exchanged weary winter weather cliches as we shoveled, before she smiled broadly and said “But thank God for life, right?”

Yeah, definitely.

But still, fuck winter.