It turned out that the rain that was supposed to happen Wednesday night and didn't, ended up coming down all day Thursday. That was supposed to turn into snow by the end of the day, but it never did. So we got some major melting and then a nice dry, cold night that evaporated most of the thin ice off the sidewalks, leaving them much cleaner (except for the buckshot melting no-slip gravel that is everywhere). Some (all right, most) households did not take advantage of this glorious opportunity to chop and clear their sidewalks, so now they have little ice hillocks on either side, making walking difficult and giving a generally untidy appearance. I think I'll get drunk tonight and go up and down the block painting a red X on the doors of all those whose sidewalks are unacceptably icy.
Today is sunny and comfortably cold (like -6), with little wind and a much cleaner atmosphere thanks to the air-scrubbing rain and a lack of woodstove use over the warm days. It's definitely winter again (we'll be in the -4/-11 range for the next 5 days) but you can see the concrete, a lot of the dogshit was swept away and the birds are singing. We'll probably get some good snow again, but the worst of winter is over I'd say and there is hope again.