the hopeful part of me gets wildly optimistic when we get the first few nice days of weather in the year. what is it about sudden 60º weather that grabs minnesotans’ attention and drags it to the outdoors? the small, green buds? the sun’s, which has been subdued and southerly for six months or so, trip north and lengthy day stays? the warmth? the combination of events excites every single person. maybe talking about the weather is a cop-out conversation piece, but here? it’s the number one thing on our minds, especially during seasons’ changes.
but to understand this, you have to understand upper midwest winters.
around september and october, we start to notice the sun’s early setting times. the weather gets a little chilly. this is fine, especially if, like me, you enjoy autumn.
then it gets cold. and the leaves are off the trees. the ground turns brown. then the snow comes, and while it’s pretty, it does make everything pretty stark looking: white snow with black tree limbs dotting the countryside. the wind blows. snow swirls. it gets so cold that it’s hard to breathe. your nostrils glue shut because it’s so cold.
there are some plusses: you get to ski and ice skate and sled. christmas is pretty nice. sometimes when the snow is falling, it’s so silent you can hear it.
but after a while, it just gets oppressive. february is so dark and cold, and the sun barely peeks through the entire month. it’s been so cold for so long, it seems like winter is never going to end. was there ever a time when i wore short sleeves outside? who knows?
so when it starts to peek above 30º, we northerners get a little anticipatory. above 40º? looking good, but we don’t want to get our hopes up. 60º in march? we’re downright giddy. then april comes, and trees start to bud out, and there are days above 70º, and the air starts to smell like dirt, and if you’re like me, the smell of mud and manure brings thoughts of spring, and the ground starts to get squishy, and birds flock back, and oh my goodness the frogs are croaking like CRAZY, …. and april, being april, sinks us back to freezing for a couple days just to let us know who’s boss.
may, on the other hand…