Sunday, February 10, 2013

february blue

me.  enjoying the snow.
Oh, to be a kid again.  Not so much because it's fun being bossed around by grownups, or being made to eat food you don't like.  No, because today was a day made for kids, not for grownups.

When you get four or five inches of really wet, heavy snow, a grownup looks at it and sees a lot of work, and a potential car accident.  Kids see potential snowmen and snowballs and snow forts.

I got out with my shovel and dug paths through the snow, flinging it onto the roots of my fruit trees wherever I could- a little extra moisture in case we have a dry spring again.  I stopped to commiserate with the neighbors who were also not happy to be digging out yet again. 

But the kids didn't notice.  They were having a blast.  When I was done with my work, we went to the mini-sledding hill at a nearby church and sledded down a 5-foot slope a bunch of times- making a game out of who could make it to the bottom first.

our kids and the neighbor kid making a snow fort
The neighbor girl came over later and they all worked together to make a snow fort, with a kid-sized snow shovel, a hockey stick, a broken shovel handle and a snow-block maker.  It turned out pretty well, I have to say.

And as much as I complained about having to shovel show once again, I have to admit that I need the exercise and need to get out of the house.  I need to spend a bit less time in front of a computer screen, and a bit more time in nature, even if that nature is my front yard in the city, and I am communing with it by means of a snow shovel.  

I am ready, very ready, for winter to be over.  I am tired of looking out the window and seeing shades of white and grey and blue.  I am tired of smelling nothing but snow and diesel fumes when I walk down the street.  I'm in need of spring.

Gita is getting edgy too.  I've noticed and this doesn't make for a great deal of domestic tranquility.   She pointed out the obvious the other day- that I'm sitting on my butt in front of the computer too much these days- and of course I didn't like hearing it.  But she's right.  

I'm not really interested in joining a gym and working out.  I've done that before, and my feeling is that, now, I want to work hard, but I want it to serve some sort of a purpose.  Turning the wheel on an orbital machine or lifting a stack of metal plates a foot and a half again and again doesn't count.  I want to have a good honest tired at the end of the day.  But that's not easy to come by this time of year.  

In April or May, yes.  There are beds to dig up, stuff to plant, weeds to pull, things that need painting, stuff to move around the yard.  But in February?  Not much.  I pruned all of our fruit trees last weekend and pulled a bunch of dead Virginia creeper off of the garage.  Not much left to do now in the winter maintenance department.

the back yard today
So I shoveled the walk, and shoveled the roof with my 20-foot 'roof rake'.  Played with the kids some.   Made a batch of cookies with them and hand-printed some valentines for our son's preschool.  Tonight I feel tired.

And I sat down to write, as I try to do most Sunday nights, and set a beer- the first one of the night and last one in the house- and spilled it all over the floor when I turned on the light. 

Being a nice housebroken domestic husband and all, I kept my expletives to a loud whisper, since Gita was putting the kids to bed upstairs, and went to get a paper towel to take care of the mess.  And made a note to keep more beer on hand in the future.    I understand why they drink so much of the stuff in Canada by the way.  This time of year, it feels like the water of life. 
swelling buds on the blueberry bush
 My relationship with winter is more of a love-hate relationship than one of pure dislike though.  I've spent a couple of winters in warm climates and it felt all wrong.  Like I was cheating on winter.  Like I was supposed to be suffering in one way, but was suffering instead in a totally different and unfamiliar way- from the guilt of not facing the winter I was supposed to face.  For not paying the price of the really truly beautiful Minnesota summer I  had just enjoyed, or some such thing.

My first winter in a warm climate was in Puerto Rico.  I was an exchange student at a small college in the southwestern part of the island.  The climate, by most measures, is just about perfect.  It was hot when I got there in August, but the fall and winter months are sunny and mild, with fruit growing on the trees, and the smell of flowers always in the air.  There would be a light rain shower every day in the late afternoon, then sunshine again.  Perfect weather for being outside

After a few months I absolutely hated it.

Part of it was the unfamiliar culture-  but that wasn't all of it.  I had to get out of there by Christmas, and back home to the cold.  I was never so happy to shiver.

I chalked that one up mostly to culture shock- but when I spent a winter, years later, in Austin, Texas, I had the same experience.  I should have been happy to be away from the  cold, but in a perverse way- I missed it.  I had intended to stay there longer but only lasted four months.

In between both of those times, I had gone traveling- to see the world on a shoestring after college- and, through a series of coincidences, ended up spending most of the winter on a kibbutz in Israel.  At least there, they had thunderstorms, so it felt a little bit like winter, but still, I missed the cold.  After all my complaining about it- I missed the cold and misery of a Minnesota winter.
view from the front door
So here I stay.  I don't think I'll make the mistake of trying to cheat on winter again- at least not for longer than a week or two.  That much I can still get away with. 

At least we didn't get two feet of snow, or three  or whatever ungodly amount they got in some of New England this weekend.  At least it's only a few inches.  

Actually- I probably would have enjoyed it to be honest.  Two feet of snow gives you street cred.  Four inches is just a backache.

Now I need to get into my seed catalogs.  Where the hell did I put those? 


  1. 20+ inches and then a day of freezing rain to boot gives you street cred :).
    i cleared a 2' high pile off the hood of my car even! I could bury my fat cat in there and no one would know! (not that i would *ever* do that). just sayin...

    1. That is some serious street cred, beej. Stay warm!