This time, it's personal
Maybe, by the time this is published, the sun will be shining and the birds will be singing, but I don’t care.
I’m fed up.
I try not to take things personally. In 1997, when the whole Midwest flooded and there were no functioning bridges between Minnesota and Kansas City and I couldn’t take my family to tour Harry Truman’s house, I didn’t whine. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person affected. In 2010 when the volcano in Iceland erupted and my sister couldn’t come home for a visit, I took it all in stride – I’m willing to be convinced that it didn’t happen just to inconvenience me. When Hurricane Gilbert devastated the Caribbean and wrecked all the banana plantations in Jamaica just before we visited, I ate mangos and oranges, and didn’t complain.
But I’m telling you, this winter is starting to feel like a personal insult.
I spent half of February and all of March shoveling snow and hammering through snowdrifts with my pickup, but that’s almost to be expected. After all, this is western Minnesota. I’ll never forget the time I was at a meeting with a climatologist from Iowa State. When he found out where I lived, he got very excited. “Did you know,” he said, “that where you live and the Ural Mountains in Siberia have the worst weather in the world?”
“Thank you,” I said, and I almost meant it. People who live in places with decent weather have no idea of the pleasures of a snow day, when the horizon is reduced to a swirling veil of white and you can spend a whole day ignoring the problems of the world, watching movies, and eating popcorn with jelly beans at 3:00 in the afternoon with no fear of any ambitious neighbors stopping by to blow the whistle on your indolence.
The thing is, there aren’t that many good movies in the world and even I can get tired of popcorn and jellybeans. And, of course, there is the need to occasionally do something productive. As the end of March approached, I started looking eagerly for signs of spring. The snow melted off the roof of the house, my driveway reappeared through melting ice, and ducks and geese started showing up, looking for a place to nest.
And then it snowed again.
“That’s odd,” I thought, “but we’ve had snow in April before, and it’ll never stick around.”
That was four storms ago. I’m writing this on April 22, and I can’t see my barn through the ginormous snowflakes plummeting to earth. I had a guy cancel a meeting because he didn’t want to take a chance on the roads, and I didn’t blame him a bit. I spotted a Canadian goose, cussing and waddling through snow up to his tail feathers. All the people who spent the winter in Arizona and Texas are filtering back into the country – you can tell who they are because of their suntans and bewildered expressions.
In 1976 when we started farming, went three months without rain, and ended up with a complete crop failure, I was willing to cut Mother Nature a little slack. But I’m warning her right now, things better straighten out.
This time, it’s personal.
Copyright 2013 Brent Olson