It is ever so close to spring, and oh boy, would I like the winter to vamoose.

This winter we’ve had bone-chilling wind and weeks with multiple snowstorms, followed by freezing rain, ice and thunderstorms. Deep, dark, long nights, for weeks on end between Thanksgiving and mid-January. One feels that hibernation might be a better option than the pent-up prisoner feeling through these long weeks of winter in Maine.

After a storm March 8 that brought over 13 inches of snow, I needed a breather from these weather-borne assaults and shoveling. Two days later, I put on my walking shoes and headed out for a brisk jaunt on a 40-degree afternoon. It was a relief to stretch my legs with long strides along the bike lane toward Payson Park.

Cars lined the busy street at the top of a hill popular with parents and kids after winter storms, the snow so deep and dense it had to be perfect for a fast zip down the hill on a tube, sled or flying saucer. As I headed through the park I saw dozens of children and adults frolicking at this winter playground. Squeals of glee from the kids and peals of adult laughter softened the hardest resolve within me that says, “Let the winter be over!”

Hearing those kids laugh as they whizzed down the hill reminded me of the fabulous fun I had as a kid heading across my street to the big hill on the side of my elementary school. Just across the street from my house, I could head over on my own, pulling my sled behind me, ready for action!

It was a fairly steep hill from top to bottom, and there was a long, sloping sidewalk that added another half a block to the run if the conditions were just right. Neighborhood kids gathered there and we took turns taking off from the sweet spot at the top of the hill, allowing for a swift trip to the bottom and then that long glide on the snow-covered sidewalk to the end of the school playground block.

Until I was a teenager, I had no shoveling duties, so snowy days with a 15- to 20-inch accumulation were not a nuisance for me, as they are these days. There was just the pure pleasure of sliding for the sheer fun of it! In my teen years a gang of neighborhood friends and I would pull 6-foot toboggans five blocks up Clear Avenue to the golf course. We’d make our way across the greens covered with snow so deep our legs would often sink down into it up to our thighs, en route to what was called Devil’s Hill – a very steep hill with a long plain at the bottom for decelerating after our descent. I can still hear our peals of laughter on run after run, until exhaustion hit and we trudged home.

— Special to the Telegram