While many sidewalks are clear and dry, others are still narrow pathways covered in packed snow and ice. Some paths are blocked by puddles ankle deep. I was glad I wore knee-high rubber boots. It's going to take weeks for all the snow to melt and in the meantime, there will be slippery sidewalks, flooded gutters in the streets, and puddles everywhere. In Back Bay, the sunny side of the major streets is melting far ahead of the shady side, so it's the better choice for walking.
It has been a while since many of us have voluntarily walked further than the minimum distance we needed to get to work or get our errands done. There were suddenly many more bikes on the road these past few days, too. It's gotten easier to see traffic over the piles of snow. That makes it safer for walking and biking although, sadly, a cyclist and a pedestrian were killed yesterday afternoon by trucks in Cambridge and Beacon Hill. Both were women in their 60s.
I had to remember to use the "tourist in London" technique I invented last year, where I look both ways quickly and repeatedly when crossing any street, including one-ways and little alleys. Bikes frequently come out of nowhere, often going the wrong way on one-way streets. And both bikes and cars often ignore lights, stop signs, and pedestrian signals.
People were ordering iced coffees and sitting outside at cafés yesterday. (They would have been sitting on park benches, too, but most of those are still buried in snow.) Many people were strolling around in shirts or sweaters, and I carried my coat as I strolled around the South End for the first time in months. I even rolled up my sweater sleeves.
And, naturally, many people remained swaddled in down coats, gloves, scarves, and furry hats. That's spring in Boston. Someday soon, I hope to photograph a few of them passing sunbathers in bikinis lying on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. It happens.
As I squinted through my sunglasses in the bright sunlight and felt its warmth trying to burn my head I have to say.... it was welcome for maybe 10 seconds. Then it became unpleasant.
I prefer fall and winter. I like cloudy days and deep shade. If the temperature never rose above 80, I'd be fine with that.
So this morning, when the temperatures returned to the 30s and felt like the 20s, I was happy to put on a sweater. But I did spot a woman walking down our street in sandals and a tee around 8 this morning, when it was 34 degrees and felt like 22. She was walking pretty fast, at least.
Because of yesterday, some people will stay determined to dress for spring even when real warmth is weeks or months away. Usually it's students and young women who make the silliest choices. Yesterday, my husband reported seeing a student wearing a midriff top in Harvard Yard. I asked him if the midriff had been tanned or pasty white, and he replied that he hadn't bothered to look that closely.
Whoa. He is either getting old or the student was very far away.
Our favorite weather site is Weather Underground. You can choose from a number of nearby weather stations for a very close-to-home report. We choose between stations monitoring conditions at Fenway Park, the Green Building at MIT, or "Back Bay West." Along with accurate predictions and the usual data, Weather Underground supplies another valuable piece of information: it tells you how today's weather compares with yesterday's, so you can adjust accordingly:
"Today is forecast to be MUCH COOLER than yesterday."
I will be going out for a long walk later, and I'll end up in Harvard Square. I hope to spot someone who doesn't know about Weather Underground (and who isn't training for the Marathon) in a tank top and shorts. I'll keep you posted.