Recent pictures of our neighbors up north dealing with a foot or so of new snow brought back memories of my ninth and tenth grade years at Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota. As I remember, the spring, summer and fall seasons flew by in a matter of five months or so; whereas, winter seemed to creep along forever beneath gray skies. I had been cold before (temperatures have been known to drop into the thirties in South Carolina), but never that cold (weeks below zero); I had seen snow before (an occasional dusting, gone the next day), but never that much (waist high by Christmas, no end forecasted) . . . this southern boy was a long way from home!
Strangely, most of my classmates relished playing hockey on the school's outdoor ice rink, skiing and tobogganing on the slopes of its golf course, and ambushing the unwary with snowballs. I soon attributed their bazaar behavior to having never walked on a sandy beach and frolicked in the waves.
During my first year, I befriended a wise senior from Texas. On a particularly bleak day in March, I asked, "How much longer will it be before I see the ground again?" His response: "Watch for the winterbournes." He then proceeded to explain that the first hint of spring's approach was often a barely visible trickle of water called a "winterbourne" flowing from beneath the tons of snow and ice accumulated over the winter. "Look up when you see a winterbourne, for the sun will be shining!"
Seeing my first winterbourne was a joyful occasion - seeing my last was a cause for celebration . . . but that's another story!