Yesterday officially was the first day of spring and we
awoke to a light covering of fresh snow and a lovely Google Doodle of a little man
(who bears an uncanny resemblance to my other “Super” half) making flowers
magically appear from what, to snow-weary Chirish eyes, looks like our backyard until a few days ago.
To be fair, a more realistic doodle of things sprouting from
the Chicago snow banks would be cigarette trees, going by the huge number of
cigarette butts which have emerged from the melting ice packs on the streets.
But the city is definitely emerging from its winter chrysalis.
Along the lake shore, the runners are back, stretching their wings after several
months literally spent on a treadmill. And if I, in any way, doubted the Irish
heritage of our new home town, the swiftness with which the locals are donning
shorts and bareing their legs the minute the temperatures rise above
freezing has convinced me that I truly
am in Chirish-land.
Perhaps one of the biggest signs for me that Spring is here
was a solitary male member of the 'metallus detectoris" species that I spotted yesterday amongst the trees in
Lincoln Park. Known for its distinctive high shrieking call, this elusive
creature emerges when the snow has finally melted, spending its days wandering the
grasslands in the search of materials with which to feather its nest.
This particular specimen may have been a little premature as
while the snow may be gone, it would take a metal grinder not a detector to
break up the ground. And while this is not a huge issue for those of us with
only a small backyard and in no rush to unearth the garden trowels, for the maintenance teams at the city’s
baseball fields, drastic measures are being adopted.
At the US Cellular Field, home to the White Sox, the crew is
facing 30 inches of permafrost. If that sounds like some hairdressing salon disaster, the remedy does even more so. Essentially the ground staff
are using something akin to a giant hairdryer under a tarpaulin to blow hot air
on the frozen pitch in an effort to thaw it out before the season opener on