The unusual weather pattern spanning those last two weeks in March brought about some interesting reactions from Cape Ann residents, both human and not.
People cautioned, "We'll have to pay for this!" while others just turned their faces to the sun, embracing temperatures that rose into the high 70s.
An accidental arrival of summer? Spring flowers bowed to their own gods: moisture, light and heat.
More than a hundred daffodils in the garden along our walkway were poised to unfurl, and then, suddenly did. Nestled among them, little patches of crocus had opened their delicate purple and yellow cups.
It seemed auspicious that my day off coincided with March's new moon, so I overturned one raised vegetable garden and planted six packages of peas. And I was one of the many anxious gardeners who dared to plant pansies.
I found some beauties at Wolf Hill Garden Center, and bought a few flats, smiling at the clerk who didn't offer any hint of encouragement regarding the probability of their survival. I was on my own, and more than willing to take a chance.
I plucked out the straggly remnants of pine, holly, and dried hydrangea from the window box outside my shop, and after replacing the tired soil with a new bag of rich, moist medium, I planted them.
My husband spent a few days carefully raking oak and maple leaves in and among clumps of daffodils. Some varieties opened before others, presenting new surprises each day. One day we pulled out some deck chairs from the shed and sat outside in the late afternoon sun, sipping wine before dinner.
When we went inside, I kept him company for a while in the kitchen as he cooked. I left to set the table, and was surprised by daffodils standing up in a floral frog that he'd set in a black amethyst glass vase shaped like a basket (The White Elephant in Essex never disappoints).
The flowers stood erect: some white, some yellow, some with orange trumpets in their centers, some with curling edges on their petals. They crowded closely together as people might, when too many of them try to crowd into a photograph.
Just before dinner was ready, I happened to turn toward the dining room. I heard my own breath draw in, and my jaw dropped open. As the setting sun slid down through the sky above the Annisquam River, a magnificent shaft of its brilliant light streamed in a path through the windows of two rooms, on through an open door to the dining room, and right across the center of the table where the daffodils stood.
"Come quick! Look!" I called to my husband. The vision lasted for only a couple of minutes, then was gone as the sun disappeared from view behind the tree line of West Gloucester.
We waited for it the next afternoon, too, noticing the time so that we might catch the spectacular performance throughout the week. We were disappointed when, on a cloudy day, although the flowers were still beautiful, that glorious illumination was missing.
I recalled a similar funnel of light in a lovely stained glass window through which I used to gaze in the church of my childhood, when I probably should have been attentive, instead, to the Mass. It commemorated the "Annunciation," when Mary got the heads-up that she had been chosen be the mother of Jesus. The impact of that light was mesmerizing even to a child, something God-like, that I've remembered all my life.
Days later, the temperature fell, and the weather report warned of below freezing temperatures on the weekend. I felt compelled when I left the shop on Saturday, to shelter the pansies, having placed them in harm's way. Some discarded guitar packing material served to wrap the window box, offering them some protection.
Waking the next morning, I saw that a light frost sparkled on the cars, the petals of the daffodils in the garden, and the outside deck where the thermometer read 24 degrees. But it rose steadily, reaching 40 by the time we went to church on Palm Sunday.
By the time we returned, the daffodils were dancing, free of the frost that had pressed down on them in the early morning cold.
Mother Nature had dealt her cards, affected her own results. Was she in cahoots with God? Was she God?
Answers to these and other perplexing questions sometimes appear if we look hard enough into shimmering shafts of light.
Susan Emerson is a regular Times columnist.