There are many ways to define the seasons, with varying degrees of usefulness. (Solstices and equinoxes seem to have only the thinnest connection with the weather.) Perhaps the most valuable differentiation between times of the year is when one can reasonably be out on the water: “Spring” is that first moment when an afternoon in a canoe doesn’t sound miserable.
The northeastern US has been gripped by severe and hardened cold. Consider, for a moment, how much colder 20 ºF feels than 60 ºF. Imagine that difference projected past its original low point, out the other side to -20 ºF. After past winter temperatures like these, I can attest that the return to “normal” winter really does feel 40 ºF warmer. The rivers and lakes are freezing. The snow is a dry powder, dozens of degrees below its melting point. A warm home above the frozen waters sounds pretty inviting.
Hiking in the hills of Picchetti Ranch in Cupertino, views over Stevens Creek Reservoir and the Bay beyond present a classic Californian landscape. Like a postcard from the mid-twentieth century, the little shape of a kayaking fisherman in the foreground (or the people fishing at the shoreline in the background) shows an ideal Saturday afternoon.