While tomorrow officially is the first day of Spring, this year you have to give it to yesterday on points. After baking for two hours in the sun at mid-afternoon, my car registered 89 degrees on the temperature control inside. Outside, the heat was closer to 80 degrees, enough for people to dig their shorts out of the bottom drawer and in a few cases put the air conditioner back in the window. I was at a college athletics complex in southern New Hampshire after lunchtime, and it was like Spring Break had caravan’d up north the way everyone was dressed or barely dressed for the sunshine. I watched a baseball team practicing double-plays and throws to second with all the casual grace of veterans in July. Pick a sport, and some group of young women and men were into it—football, lacrosse, soccer, advanced Frisbee. When I got home the South Common across the street looked like the Occupy people had found a new park to take over. Yesterday was a day when everyone got the same message: Get outside and enjoy the gift.

The way the weather is freaking out around the country, we may yet get a big snowstorm before May, but it won’t stand a chance of sticking to the ground for more than 48 hours the way things are going in 2012. I was so ready this year, with three Home Depot orange plastic utility buckets full of salted sand for the driveway, shovels of various sizes leaning at the ready against the house, and a new ice chopper for the Arctic jam that always sets in the dip at the entrance to the driveway. A couple of nuisance short-story snowfalls after January, and that was about all Mother Nature wrote after her multi-volume horror blizzard saga of October. Can we never again be without electrical power for three, four, and more days?

Lowell offers regular signs of spring organized by people: the annual Hynes Tavern Five-Mile Road Race and the community charity breakfast for St Patrick’s Day. These harbingers point toward yellow forsythia, Easter tulips, and baseball on the local diamonds. Yesterday’s sign was organized by the cosmic planners who must have figured that we needed a lift. I’ll take it.