Now this is more like it. This is what the God of the North intended for Minnesotans in the middle of February. And I suppose it’s just a brief blip in the weather map for 2012, brown grass and exposed concrete being the new norm, but it brought back a sense of reality and a re-affirmation of what we envisioned when we made this leap of faith across the continent. West coasters from the tropical climes, I must admit, are prone to react with shrieks of delight when encountering all this magical white stuff wafting down. It’s still a wondrous novelty. “It’s snowing!” I whoop. “Come look!” And I can’t tear myself away from the pane then, entranced and mesmerized by this lovely phenomenon.
I know. I know. Wait ‘til I have to muck through the slush and shovel the drive. Wait ‘til I’m blizzer’d out on the way to the Service Market. Wait ‘til it goes on and on and it’s May. But those thoughts come in defense to specific nay-sayers and I have found that such negativity is not really rampant in these parts. Some northerners like to wear the atmospheric harshness as a badge of honor. “Look what we have to endure!” “You just try and get through our winter!”
I get that. When we lived on the rugged Big Sur coast of California, I slipped at times into the “special-ness” syndrome. The unspoken but underlying belief that the hearty bunch who chose to reside in this splendiferous, exalted, dramatic, difficult paradise have been tested and proven worthy. We could drive the famous (and infamous) Highway One, zig-zaging boulders, traversing land slides, reeling off onto goat-trail dirt roads to our ridge-top aeries and feel a sense of pride.
It was a daily dose of grandiosity. And when tourists appeared in our shops and restaurants, a bit shaken by the precipitous drive along 90 miles of coastline, we smiled and felt comfort in our own knowledge and familiarity with every twist and turn. We earned it.
Yet when it comes right down to actual Minnesota negativity about the winter, I have been surprised at the outranking number of enthusiasts. “Oh no, I love winter!” they are likely to declaim. Followed by – “Do you ski?” Or “Oh, it’s so beautiful, so quiet. The best time to curl up with a good book.” And even – “It’s my favorite time of year.”
The more worrisome thought comes from Paul, our local weatherman, who is beginning to sound the alarm for a new paradigm, a possible change in the atmosphere that will be more than a blip in a season, a turnaround of stratospheric proportions, an alteration in the necessary patterns of Mother Earth.
I’m going to stop apologizing for my lack of experience. I’m going to refrain from getting the jump on the inevitable – “…but you haven’t been through a winter yet!” And I’m simply going to enjoy the magic. And hope it lasts.