After having heard the lamentations and milk-breathed wailing outside from the frozen huddled masses, yearning for warm whispers of a season seemingly lost in all but the most distant memories, it is time to remember or if we must be reminded - and with apologies to New York Sun editor Frank Church - that yes, Virginia your friends are wrong, there is a season called spring.

It exists this time of year in place that you cannot touch, see, taste or smell but it is there; hidden behind a thin veil of cold and time, it is there. The hard snow packs will give way to dripping eves and streams of water coursing over the sidewalks and plow torn earth freshly revealed by the retreating white.

The ice on which we have struggled so boldly to keep our footing and often failed will return to its more pleasing and placid form on ponds and in bird-baths alike welcoming the courses of feathered folk that will begin their return, towing the warm sun behind them like a fiery chariot, transporting our longer milder evenings back from their over wintering grounds.

The Purple Martin and Scarlet Tanager will return with bright new greens and purples and yellows for our fields and forests. Rising daffodils, crocuses, and cherry blossoms will explode like fireworks on our streets and greenways.

It is on the cusp of realization already so please do not lose heart! Your patience will be rewarded, our struggles will soon end, or at least alter their current arctic course for warmer climes, and our world will soften its icy resistance to reveal itself resurrected once more in its endless cycle of death and rebirth.

Your friends are wrong Virginia but it isn't their fault, the winter had been hard on them and they have not fared so well. It is your job to remind them when they commence complaining about the heat four months from now.

Michael Wilson

, Newark, wmichaelshannon@aol.com