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Less Heat, More Sunshine

03/25/2014 @ 8:25am

I had quite a column written this week. It touched on an important social issue. I did hours of research, even used some actual facts. It was sensitive, thought-provoking, and probably would have resulted in some hate mail being sent my way.

It even made a lunge toward grasping one of the small truths of the universe.

And then I decided not to use it.  I think the truth is overrated when you’re using all your energy getting through March in Minnesota.

One of my daughters called today. She went to start her car and it was dead as a doornail, so she had to ride her bicycle to work through the “springtime” slush. It snowed while she was there, so she came out to a tiny little drift on the seat of her bike. After work, she had to call AAA to come give her a jump.  While she waited, she remembered that her low-fuel light had just flickered on the last time she parked her car.  She anticipated getting her car started, driving to the gas station a block away to fill up, and needing ANOTHER jump because her battery wouldn’t have had time to charge.  

Batteries are low all across the state. The shipping season started in Duluth – steel mills are running out of iron ore, and Duluth is where it comes from, so the big ships have to get busy. Except, there’s still 4 feet of ice on parts of Lake Superior.  

I dunno – that seems like a lot.  

I suppose you wouldn’t need to use ships to transport iron ore. You could use dog sleds in a pinch. I did a little math and it turns out that you’d need 395,000 dog sleds to replace each ship. We’re talking about 45 million pounds of dog food. All that food has to go someplace, and we don’t want to be dirtying up the ice, so given the average capacity of the basic pooper scooper, we’re talking 3.62 million pooper . . . scoops.  

That’ll take the spring out of your step.

I’m still wearing my winter coat, but I hung up the scarf a few weeks ago. It wasn’t long before I broke down and started flinging it around my neck again. A friend switched from his winter coat to a denim jacket about two weeks ago. He’s made of stronger stuff than I am and swears he’s not switching back. I applaud him, and make sure his coffee cup is full of extra hot brew.

On days when the clouds part, the sun spreads little puddles of water on the sloughs and lakes. The geese come out to scout the prime nesting spots, splashing through the water, seemingly unaware of the 3 feet of ice still underneath them. I hope they don’t actually start laying eggs for a while, or there’s going to be a lot of disappointment in the goose kingdom.

Someday soon I’ll write a provocative column, something that will make a few people angry and some others think. Maybe I’ll touch on politics or religion, or both, something to get people fired up. But for today, I think what people need isn’t heat, it’s sunshine.

Lots of sunshine.


Copyright 2013 Brent Olson

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