It’s February so the weather is a somewhat interesting topic this time of year, unlike some parts of the year. In my part of the US, it’s a total crapshoot what kind of weather we’re going to get on any given day in February. It could be anything from a blizzard with forty-mile-per-hour winds to fifty degrees bright and sunny or anything between. There isn’t a thing growing outside. Everything is dead and dormant, waiting for the warmth of the sun to bless it and nurture some growth. For the time being, though, it all looks dead. We’ve had rain for the past few days, which is somewhat unusual, so the pack of snow that’s been lingering for the past two or three weeks melted away and the lakes, rivers and ponds all have a shallow sheen of water on top. We’ve had a handful of sunny days with the weather above freezing, so the ice on the pond has started to give way to the concept of completely melting. I definitely wouldn’t stand on it right now, but with another few days of below-freezing weather, it will probably gain back its stability and become a solid substance again. That much is a foregone conclusion. Winter hasn’t let her icy fingers go of us yet. She’ll come back at some point, if only for a day or two. She may come back with a vengeance.
February in the Northland can be a portal to a warmer world or it can be a mirage. This brief period of warmth we’ve experienced lately may just have been an oasis of warmth in the middle of a bitter winter. So far this winter has been relatively mild, with only a handful of days with snow or a wintery mix. Saying something like that here is almost a sure-fire way of bringing on the full wrath of Mother Nature and as any good Minnesotan knows, you should never utter those words without knocking on something made of wood. It’s almost sinful to think of putting those words down in writing. I may just burn somewhere in Minnesotan hell for writing those words. It’s a certainty that my fellow citizens will look at me questioningly from now on. They’ll always wonder about me that I had the audacity to actually publish such a thought. How could I even dare the weather gods to punish us so? What was I thinking? I can hear their whispers and snickers in dark alleys now. They are more like a bright kitchen than dark alleys, though.
So now that I’ve done it, I fully expect to find I’ve doomed us all to six more weeks of snow up to the rooftops and wild winds that envelope us in the worst March on record. Keep in mind that March in Minnesota is well-known for blizzards, particularly around tournament time when teenagers long to go cheer for their basketball and hockey teams in regional and state tournaments. It’s a spring rite of passage for teenagers to show off that team pride, flirt and sometimes more than flirt at a tournament somewhere. Not that I ever participated in the mating rites of tourney-time. I was always stuck in a blizzard somewhere listening on the radio.