When I woke up this morning, it was actually 28. Mind you, the date on the calendar is April 2, and yet the temp has barely topped 43 degrees for months. This is the life of someone living on the Great Plains of the upper midwest. It is a life of extremes that most cannot quite understand unless they have lived it.
I have many friends who are natives, and love it here. My daughters, who have basically been raised here, love it here. I however, was raised and lived all my life on the west coast of the country, am not a fan. I mean, in all my years on the west coast, I can honestly say I never heard nor saw someone doing this as April approached:
Yes, that is grilling in the snow. This is a more positive view compared to a couple weeks ago, since we had one of our ‘balmy’ days and the snow had melted enough for us to actually GET to the grill! We decided it was cause for celebration, it was above 32 degrees and so the meat would actually cook!
Yes, Minnesota is land of extremes. Summers are beautiful I won’t lie. They are green, lush and by August, dry. This is the land of lakes, and we have plenty. Ironically, I’m not really a lake person, but I do love the river. While the lakes are silty, murky and have lots of vegetation, the St. Croix is beautiful. By late summer it’s warm, clean and slow running. No slimy weeds in your toes or little fishes like Sunnies to bite at your moles. My girls love to take a gaggle of girls, head to the beach to hang out and tan. One of my favorite family summer traditions is to pack a picnic lunch, and paddle the canoes from Taylors Falls down the river a few miles, ending up where shuttle bus takes us back to the car. It’s a lovely way to spend 4-5 hours on a hot and steamy June day off.
The heat here starts in June and doesn’t really let up until mid-September. While we have -20 in the deepest part of winter (Just for reference, that is cold enough to freeze the snot in your nose. Cold enough to vaporize a cup of hot water thrown in the air) , we reach nearly 100 at times in the summer. It’s a steamy heat due to all the water we have, so with heat index, it is over 100 at times. So, come August, another favorite family summertime tradition is to go up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. It allows us to escape the heat for a brief week. Not only is is cooler up there, but the scenery is breathtaking. Being that far north, you cannot see to the other side of the lake. It reminds this coastal girl of the ocean. It is my guaranteed once a year sanity break from being land bound. That far north, you sit on the slopes of the Iron Range. Tall pines, birch, elevation that produces rivers, streams and fun climbing trails all remind me of my beloved Central Oregon and the high desert around the Three Sisters Mountains. Staring out my window and looking at this:
makes me pine for summer up north (Grand Marais) where we enjoy this:
Sigh. When spring consists of snow, snow and more snow, it’s hard to envision and recall the warmth and green of summer. Right now, the forecast is for yet another couple days of cold, with the hope of warming by weekend. Sadly, all that warmth will bring is mud. Lots and lots of mucky, muddy, soggy ground that will result in lots of work to keep clean. Spring brings rain, which on the still frozen ground, results in flooding. Spring water and warmth, brings the mosquitoes, which are big enough to be semi-laughingly be referred to as the state bird. Spring brings the humidity. But at least with the arrival of spring, I know that summer is not far behind.
We had our first snowfall here mid-October. It’s now April 2. I won’t lie, my patience for winter to be over is waning. My fingers itch to be out in the garden. My body is restless to be in something other than turtlenecks and sweaters. My dog yearns to be taken for long walks in the farm fields. It’s a feel of expectation and anticipation. It’s a sense of impatience that grows stronger with each passing day. I know that once the thermometer hits 50, I will go from impatient toe tapping to frenzied activity, so I guess during this transition, I’ll have to settle for muddling through.