The cruelty of March weather was on full display yesterday in the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire. Less than 24 hours after the astronomical beginning of spring, the air was filled with horrible, white flakes of snow.

It was enough to make even a hardy New Englander exclaim, "Please, enough, no more!"

Was it just last week that the temperature hit 70 degrees, a tantalizing taste of the warmth to come? Hasn't it been just a few days since the last bits of the giant mounds of snow that had clogged our city streets dissolved into puddles and small streams and flowed away into storm drains? Was that a hint of green in the grass or the first shoots of crocuses and daffodils poking up from the mud?

The snow yesterday was nothing dramatic. Locally, it was just enough to coat grassy areas in white — although the higher elevations to our north and west got a more substantial snowfall. But just the sight of more snow after measuring this winter's accumulation in feet was enough to break the spirit. And, there's a chance for more snow later in the week.

We're three-quarters of the way through March. So the good news is that any snow that falls now isn't very long-lived. But New England weather is notorious for a reason. We all remember the April Fool's Day blizzard of 1997 that socked us with a foot of snow. It seems the region isn't truly free of the risk of the white stuff until May.

Take heart. Yesterday's snow notwithstanding, spring has arrived on the calendar and will arrive soon enough in reality. Once again, grass will grow and flowers will bloom. Thoughts will turn from salt and shovels to rakes and mowers. Birds and baseball players are ready to move north again. Opening Day is little more than a week away.

Hope springs eternal.

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