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January Thaw
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The temperature topped forty today and I cleared slush from in front of my snowbound car, exposing the ice beneath to tepid January sunlight. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder. I doubt I'll be able to drive up the hill before winter returns. So far it's been a poor excuse for a January thaw. Nothing like I remember from childhood.

Back then, for a few days in the middle of the coldest month, warm sunshine rolled the snow off the backyards and the neighborhood kids substituted baseball gloves for mittens. The flat rocks we used for bases were frozen to the ground and the impact of bat on ball sent a numbing electric shock through cold hands, but we rejoiced in defying the season.

The games didn't last long. The baseball became waterlogged after a few trips through half frozen puddles. The heavy ball invariably cracked someone's bat. After the second or third time it wasn't so exciting, digging the ball out of a lingering snowdrift to make the throw home.

We suddenly realized that our magical spring was mostly in our imaginations. The hats, and scarves and jackets we'd discarded went back on and we rushed home for hot chocolate.

Winter seems colder these days. More vigilant not to let its grasp slip. I suspect I might never see another January thaw like those I remember.

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