While there is still an impressive snow cover, even by Minnesota standards, the temperatures have reliably hit the upper 30s for several days running now, the skies are a blue famous to The Land of Sky Blue Waters, and Minnesotans everywhere are opening their windows and doors, stumbling, pale and blinking into the bright sunshine.
After the cold dry silence of winter, the ability to let the outside, in, has made the texture of the day immeasurably richer: The sharp “chirp” of the first cardinal; the sight of a shiny, just-washed car – who, from the sound of it, is ready for a new fan belt; the sound of running water.
Winter is slowing leaving, draining into the gutters and rivers going south.
Perhaps even more exciting than the wintery streams pouring into the sewers is the lifting of the one-side-of-the-street-parking restriction.
The city is giddy with the renewed prospect of convenient parking.
And I can’t stop stamping on the ever-retreating ice that forms every night. It’s become personal.
Winter? It’s time it was over.
You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a mere four months from now I will have forgotten the physical pain of cold, the one-side-of-your-body ache of shoveling, or the Cabin Fever Syndrome made manifest with your 10th straight day in the house.
There’s an enforced closeness when going outside requires so much effort. There’s not only dressing from head to foot so as avoid being that headline we all secretly wait for: “Woman Dressed Inappropriately for Weather Freezes to Death” but there’s the car that won’t start, the dangerous roads, the reduced availability of parking. And then one night when your mate says “Wellllllllllllll, I suppose I oughta…” and drifts toward bed in the same way he has for years, you realize: I have got to get out more often. He says that every single night, doesn’t he? Has he always done that same silly stretching motion while saying it? For cryin’ out loud, why have I never noticed this before?
A distant relative once chased his wife around the outside of their sod home, circa February 1880 with an ax, intent on killing her. February in North Dakota, pre-TV, pre-radio, pre-neighbors, pre-indoor plumbing. We’ve no clue as to what she did or said that made him lose his Danish pioneer reserve, but I suspect it was something along the lines of “Wellllllllllllllll, I suppose I oughta…” for the 160th time in as many days.
He didn’t catch her, but it does make you wonder what dinner was like that night.
We are, of course, far removed from those days.
I don’t even own an ax.
Still, I’m really looking forward to Spring.
Being a Nighthawk
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