When I went to fill the bird feeders mid morning, I found that the birdbath had accumulated a thick layer of ice in the night, not a thin crusty sheet, but an actual inch that required some serious chopping. And as I walked back past the tubs by the back door, I had a shock to notice that the very impatiens which just yesterday had been in full and glorious flower, were recipients of the first real freeze. So too, the valiant tomatoes which were picked just yesterday.
Yes, it’s mid October and Paul the Twin Cities weatherman has been intimating for the past few weeks, a peek at the future. The question is – how soon? Are there possible flurries this week – or next? The winter is predicted to be “colder-than-average”. And in today’s Twin Cities Star Tribune our Paul ends his report with – “Note to self: A mild October does NOT imply a kinder, gentler winter!”
Thank you Paul. As transplanted snowbirds, I’m already scared.
But – as Little Red Riding Hood declared in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” – her foray into the unknown left her “excited AND scared!” We proclaimed that very sentiment as our personal mantra for the big move from California to Minnesota – and it now serves me as a prelude to a Great Plains Winter.
T.M. is mainly into the “excited” mode, anticipating, I guess, the drama of it all. I am more inclined to embrace both ends of the spectrum. Yet I am resolute and determined, if only to prove our worthiness to be considered true Minnesotans.
Thanks to thoughtful friends and relatives, we’re getting properly outfitted.
And I have my Christmas present snowshoes ready to go. So far, the old house is warm and cozy when the heat is on. The fallen leaves across the street have left a new view to the river. The kitchen is almost ready for a proper bread baking station.
And truly, when I think of the arctic weather most certainly ahead, I need only look at the skate on the wall, and remember that Jorgen Johannesen, my great grandfather, dug a shelter into the ground beside the Red River of the North and raised a family and skated for many miles for supplies.
Can I do him proud? I hope so. A harbinger has been described as “one who foreshadows what is to come”. An angel, a forerunner, a herald, an outrider. Jorgen Johannesen was all of that for those who came after. We hope we’ve done him proud.