I do like spring. I generally go go go in the spring. I’m not going to go against the grain on this one. I live in ice berg Minnesota where the snow can pile up to the tops of stop signs and your Jeep can spin donuts into the intersection where you are killed by a snow plow driven by a furry fellow who’s eaten nothing but deer meat since November and is hallucinating from a lack of vitamins D and C. Winter is tough business up here in the Big Woods (also the place where large, hairy spiders live in your shower drain). The coming of spring means you didn’t freeze to death in a pile of snow, and you probably won’t, at least until October. It’s excellent. Euphoria! I'm alive!
But, this year – I assume due to global warming -- I’ve experienced no euphoria brought on by the sudden presence of sun, soft breeze and the return of the honking geese that live in the pond across from my house. Why? Winter didn’t really happen. There was very little danger. The snowplows were parked. The furry fellows got D producing sunshine. The roadways were clear. The neighbors sat outside and talked about parking tickets instead of ice fishing accidents. Winter was a non-event.
Unless you count this: In February I went jogging in cut off blue jeans.
And so, when those buttery yellow first flowers of spring started poking their tubery heads out of the ground in March (when usually all we see poking from the snow are the frozen hands of freeze dried squirrels), I thought: Big Deal. I thought: I’ve seen it all before. I thought: I feel nothing.
This is a sad state of affairs. One of the reasons I chose to live in the upper Midwest is that seasons are brutal and meaningful. Every year contains the cycle of life in stark terms. Summer is young adulthood with its freedom, vacation, over-spending and disorienting indulgence. Fall brings the calm of age. Beautiful color. The slowing. The aches of November. A realization that the end is near. Winter is finality, complete with life ending everywhere around you and the burying of that which is dead. Piles of snow! Piles that can cover you if you’re not careful. And then… the spring, rebirth! We are all children again and everything is new and amazing! Great stuff for a writer.
But the flowers this year were not new. The grass never quite disappeared. The lake froze for a moment. The geese came back in February. I jogged around in my shortest cut offs. And the buttery little daffodils of March did not move me at all.
My New-Style Winter Jogging Pants
I want brave policy-makers to do something about this situation. I want my winter back. I want those daffodils to make my guts sing spring songs once again.