It’s 7:46 am. The curtains are open as write with my feet up on the couch. Golden sunlight spills into the room: the neon tetras in the aquarium are tiny swimming jewels. There’s warmth on the back of my neck.
Little darling, it’s been a long, cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here. Here comes, the sun.
I got an email this morning: PS-hope you have finally said goodbye to the incredibly severe winter you guys had up there! I didn’t really need a reminder, but to south-landers what we have is something of a novelty. On the phone friends ask me, Hey don’t you guys still have a bunch of snow up there? UP THERE really sums it up. All I can tell you is that yesterday morning was the first morning above freezing in 5 months.
And I say, it’s all right.
Minnesotans are a hardy folk – I mean the ones up in the North Country. We manage to be mostly happy when we suffer. Suffering is the key to our philosophy about most things. For example, we’re not fancy. Fancy folk live in warm places where they have time to think about other things besides avoiding cold injury. Fancy folk think about malls and eat at bistros – they wear colorful clothing. When I’m dressed in four layers there’s no fashion statement intended…unless our lack of statement is meant to state how we in the North Country do not consort with fancy people or have any truck with fancy ways. Many a well dressed person have been found frozen stiff. Up here we get by, doncha know.
Nevertheless, there’s been joy in Grand Rapids as the sun has returned and the thermometer is nudging 50. Pasty faces emerge into the light of day. Eyes squint as they take in a bright landscape of crusty snow and emerging mud. Flannel shirts are unbuttoned and flapping in the breeze as people enjoy the novelty of a walk. People park at the grocery store and no longer leave their cars running for an hour while shopping. Cheerful waves and driving with the passenger side window cracked. Oh, the glory of it all.
The days are longer, and smiles are returning to our faces – replacing the look of grim determination we’ve become accustomed to these past five months. We are ready for our annual 16 week reprieve from the cold. Oh sure, there’s still 36 inches of ice on the lakes, but this too shall pass. We shall neither cogitate nor ruminate upon winter, for it is now the springtime of the soul in the North.