Mother nature has played a cruel joke on us here in the South. You see, like all of you, we here have suffered another bitterly cold winter. So cold that I know of men and women who work for the power companies who’ve been working almost non-stop since the first blast of arctic air made its way into our lives. The weather has been so awful that I have not really been able to enjoy my favorite writing spot. My front porch that is. Nope, I’ve been mostly relegated to writing while sitting up in bed or trying to write while sitting on my couch because the bitter cold, the snow, the incessant rain that pelts you from all sides that feel like ten thousand needles penetrating your skin makes sitting outside in nature a difficult task if not damn near impossible.
Whatever the obstacles put before me have been, be they thrust upon my by nature or duties to my family and work, I’ve still managed to persevere in my communication. This is not news, but it feels good to say. Yet I can’t help but think, with all the chronic comments and complaints I hear from people in my daily life, that others are just as put out as I am in these thoughts that Mother Nature is playing some sort of cruel joke on us. Which brings me back to my original sentence.
The cruel joke.
You see, just a few short days ago, here in the south, the mercury rose above seventy for the first time in what seems like eons. Birds chirped with glee, squirrels chased each other frantically, dogs that normally bark like the world is ending as you passed by their house seemed to just be happy to feel the warmth of a yellow glow on their skins. Yes, all around us, even the trees seemed to have let out a collective sigh of relief that the long cold winter was over. Then the temperatures dropped to the upper thirties. That night. Almost no warning, with the exception of the weather Nazis on television. Yup, our brief respite in the death cycle of seasons merely a mirage. A mirage quickly replaced by rain, bone chilling wind and foggy breath for those brave enough to venture out into the atmosphere of arctic air that seemed to have found a new home here.
Which is funny in a way to me.
You see, as a person gets older, you hear about “Snow-Birds”. They are the people who live in the northern climates during the summer months, and when the witch of November begins her lengthy exhale, they head south. Places like Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas become havens for pale faced elderly people with more disposable income than they have days left on this planet. Used to be, I felt sorry for these folks, thinking how unlucky they are to miss out on the gasping vestiges of a season as it slowly goes into a slumber, only to awaken months later in joyous harmony and bloom. A season filled with energy, life and the ability to ensure that the life they are enjoying will be passed on. Right now, I think I may have been wrong.
You see, I’m fast approaching my forty-eighth year and I’m beginning to think that chasing the sun and its infinite healing warmth may be a respectable goal. Yet, inside me, deep inside where all the super-secrets and regrets of life lie in a coffin that is encased in concrete while surrounded by metal that is coated with three inches of rust-proof while anchored to the core of the molten core of the earth with magma proof chains is the little kid in me who used to love winter. A kid so enamored with the cold and white flakes from the sky he never realized the beauty of the stark gray countryside until it was almost too late. A scenery of bare beauty that was only hinted at in the movie “Fargo”. Yet the desire for the sparseness and empty plains of white drifting off into a dark gray horizon haunt my dreams to this day. Yes, there is a part of me that yearns for those days. Endless rows of empty fields where not even an animal would dare tread for fear of being on the supper table of a starving farmer.
Yes, I still think fondly of those Wisconsin winter days. Where the morning snow is a deep ruddy black and gray that slowly fades to white and the imprints of child sized snow boots scatter across otherwise pristine lawns. Footprints that if analyzed by a CSI would show a great battle had occurred there not twelve hours earlier. A battle that held the stakes of every citizen in the solar system, nee, every citizen in the universe in the clutches of its outcome. Empty snow forts with abysmally made mutant snowmen standing guard in cul-de-sacs and front yards that had once hosted squeals of glee and vehemence, all in good natured fun, slowly melting and soon to look like some sort of menagerie of a madman with a blowtorch fill my mind lost scenes from my own youth. Yah, I guess in one sense of the word I miss the neck high to a giraffe snow drifts. But another part of me, the part that is quickly approaching embittered middle age, I say my bones are weary. My bones ache. The earth is not only for the living but the young.
Bring me tepid temperatures where I can enjoy the simple fruits of my labors without soaking my hands and body in water that reaches upwards to one-hundred and ten degrees just so the feeling of life will return to my aged and aching bones.
I’m done Mother Nature, I surrender and hoist a white flag in your honor. I’m too tired, too, worn out and too cold to endure a spring where the average temperature is less than my double digit age.
Have a great and warm week everyone.