Saturday, January 17, 2009

Colder than ice, but just as pretty.

I'm not so sure I'm buying into this whole global warming thing. I mean, this week I actually spit and watched it bounce. I almost went out on my deck to see if I could use a Twinkie to drive a green bean into a piece of angel food cake. Yes, it's cold in the north country.

It's not just us humans that are having trouble dealing with it, either. In the morning when I put the dogs out, they look at me like I owe them money. Normally happy to jump up and go anywhere at the drop of a hat any time of day or night at any speed, these days they look more like slugs than hyperthyroidal hamsters on speed when it comes to going outside.

Normally it's just the smokers that voluntarily subject themselves to this sort of thing for any length of time. You've seen them I'm sure, the little tribe of Inuits that inhabit the sidewalk outside of businesses and government buildings during business hours, performing their quasi-religious smoke ritual. It's hard to fault their devotion to the cause. I know. I used to be one. To somebody who has never smoked, it probably looks like a sign of mental illness...but those people have never experienced "the first cigarette in the morning." I still miss that one sometimes.

At least it isn't icicle season yet. That's the time in Minnesota later in the winter when things warm up a bit. The snow on the roofs start of slowly melt and the dripping moisture starts to form icicles on the eaves of buildings. Depending on the snow cover of the roof, the temperature and several other technical variables, the icicles can get to be the size of a telephone pole. That's when you've got to worry not just about the war, the recession, and starving people in Africa, but also about getting pile-driven by The Giant Icicle From Space, that's been ruminating on the edge of your garage and is waiting for just the right moment to attack.

I bought a snow blower last spring. Spring is the time to get a good deal on snow blowers, just as fall is the time to score a good motorcycle cheap. People will do anything to free up storage space, it seems. Anyway, I had bought a snow blower back in the 90s that was old enough to have cleared the field for the first superbowl. It was $125 at a garage sale (again, in the spring). It served me for 14 years or so, before dying a horrible death. My new one served me for about 2 months of active duty before shuffling off this mortal coil. It may be fixable, but it really didn't sound good. So I'm doing my part for the economy by paying a guy to come by with his truck and effortlessly do in 5 or 10 minutes what I could be doing in 1/2 hour with a lot of huffing and puffing. I'm not sure whether to laugh or curse.

But you know...I wouldn't trade winter here for something more sane like they have south of the Mason-Dixon line. There's something to be said for the idea of stepping outside and finding yourself in a crystal, sunlit version of the Carlsbad Caverns. That first snow of the year is absolutely pristine. Then dogs pee on it and animals run across it and it gets messed up in general, but then it gets renewed every time it snows. It's nature's etch-a-sketch.

And spring, when it comes, is such a glorious time that you get a little inkling of what Heaven must be like all the time.

But back to reality. Pass the hot cocoa, would you?

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