Over the weekend I draped my peonies in an old sheet to keep them from getting nipped by frost. The last frost date for our part of the mountains is May 15 but we’ve had such a lovely spring that lots of folks jumped the gun with their spring planting.

Sure enough, Saturday night dropped down to 30 degrees–which probably wasn’t cold enough to hurt anything but better safe than sorry. My husband felt like this was an unusually late cold snap. I assured him it was just blackberry winter, pointing out the brambles blooming along the side of the yard.

Happens every year. But then I got to thinking maybe it IS unusually cold for this far into May. So I checked old blog posts (since I tend to repeat myself). And there you go. I wrote about blackberry winter falling on May 4, 2011, and again on May 5, 2016. Which means this year is all of five days later. I think that’s what you call “statistically insignificant.”

It amazes me how quickly we forget from year to year. The weather gets warm and we think spring is here to stay. Then it snows on the daffodils. Just like last year. It gets hot and we think summer has taken up residence. Then comes a chill evening requiring sweaters and wool socks. Just like last year.

I take comfort in this. We can both count on the seasons AND be surprised by them. Kind of like a really good story with a surprise twist that deep down feels exactly right. We can trust that blackberry winter is coming while thinking that somehow this year it won’t. People. Aren’t we something else??

And in case you’re wondering about any more cold snaps, here are ALL the winters you can expect in Appalachia–just two more to go:

  • Redbud winter – When the redbud trees bloom
  • Dogwood winter – When the dogwood trees bloom
  • Locust winter – When the locust trees bloom (see a pattern?)
  • Blackberry winter – When the blackberry brambles bloom
  • Britches winter – The full name is linsey-woolsey britches winter which means it’s the last time it’ll be cold enough to wear your long underwear
  • Whipporwill winter – This one is barely cold enough to call winter, but it’s when the whippoorwills migrate north from Mexico