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Monday, March 8, 2010

Wherein Nature Stops Hitting “Snooze”

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.

Most noticeable?

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.


sage said...

"I don't even own an ax!" LOL I thought the "death trips" were in Wisconsin... This winter will go down as the first in a decade that my daughter hasn't read Laura Wilder's "The Long Winter."

SparkleFarkle said...

I thought I heard winter circling the drain! And even though I like the snow, your light at the end of the tunnel snaggedd me: "...the renewed prospect of convenient parking." LOL! You have me in stitches again, Pearl!

L.C.T. said...

Same thing is happening here... although not on quite such a grand scale!

Secretia said...

You made a nice tribute to the freshness of Spring.


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

We get two such moments up here in the Tundra. First when the sun comes out and you have a psuedo spring. It's beautiful in the day and you stand there with the sun in your face until the cars honk to het you off the road - 'damn idjit' they calls me. Then you go out one night without proper coatwear and you are a freezing stupid monkey because its still cold at night. Then the real melt happens but not before the next big storm which I have seen come as late as June. Snow storm I mean. Nothing is cooler than a prairie Thunder Storm with all the lightning and sideways rain and house lifting wind. We would wear coathangers on our head and play a game called Bumblybee where you run from the fence to the bunkhouse and try not to be electrocuted. Good times.

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, interesting relatives you have. I've never had a relative attack anyone with an axe (that I know of) but I had a neighbor who cut off his mother-in-law's head as she lay on the sofa.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

Pearl, you sound so positively lyrical in one instant and then you come back and deal a devastating blow to all that poetry by your amazing wit!! I really enjoyed reading this!!

Joanna Jenkins said...

GREAT job Pearl. I totally get how sick and tired of winter you are. Enough already is right.

Hang in there.

Krëg said...

I was able to comfortably wear a t-shirt outside yesterday. I didn't have any pressing matters of yardwork, so I just stood around in my yard, forcing myself to enjoy the nice weather w/o cause.
You can't hold back Spring.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

It's amazing what a couple days of sunshine can do. I may even put my ax away till next winter...

mapstew said...

Sunshine! It's paying us a visit, though the temps are about -3. Still, SUNSHINE!

(Put some towels on the line outside for the first time this year, and they DRIED! How much of a 'house-husband am I?) :¬)


WrathofDawn said...

"... stumbling, pale and blinking into the bright sunshine." Have you been here in spring?

I once had a co-worker whose boyfriend chopped up a father and son in their living room. Circa February 1980. Perhaps it's Februarys in years that end in 80.

Nuke Girl said...

That is the best part of winter, isn't it?.... the end. :)

Jeanie said...

We can actually see grass, yes grass, here. It won't last for long, but it's enough for me to keep my hands away from the axe.

Douglas said...

Hang in there, Pearl, there will be a brief reprieve where you will think cold was just a sick memory and then, before you know it, winter will be back... with a vengeance.

Tempo said...

"the one-side-of-your-body ache of shoveling"... this got me thinking... when you go for your first morning jog in spring, do you go round in circles?

Louise | Carmine Superiore said...

I love your idea of winter leaving via the gutters and drains. Nice one. Hope the snow clears soon.

bettyl said...

Draining south? We have enough of our own winter, we don't need yours, too, Missy!

ladyfi said...

You're so funny!

We had snow yesterday and minus 12 C this morning... can you send me an ax and some spring, please?