KitKat and I are native Minnesotans. Growing up in this state, I’ve made some interesting observations about how a dark, cold winter affects the local psyche. During the months of December/January/February, you encounter a spectrum of viewpoints about our longest season. For many of us, our attitude evolves as the season progresses:
- December: We love the snow! Everything was so dreary in November, but now it looks so Christmas-y! A winter wonderland!
- January: Brrrrr. It’s cold and snowy, but that’s Minnesota. Twenty below zero might be unpleasant, but just think of our forefathers having to endure it without down parkas and heated seats! Basically, we’re resigned to it. We hunker down and watch a little too much TV.
- February: We’re over the worst of it. The days are getting longer. There’s still a lot of winter before us, but we’re hardy Minnesotans, after all. We’ll survive. (This is typically when I go to my annual conference in a warm destination, so that well-timed respite from the snow and cold usually keeps me off the ledge, so to speak.)
There are even a number Minnesotans who manage to maintain their December enthusiasm right through February. These are generally the outdoorsy types—people who take full advantage of the season for skiing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing and hockey.
However, regardless of one’s view of winter, I’ve noticed that there’s a point where everyone eventually reaches their limit. And, interestingly enough, this happens to everyone at approximately the same time. Suddenly, we’ve collectively had ENOUGH.
“Enough” arrived last week in the guise of a March snowstorm, whereupon Mother Nature (that bitch!) dropped 10 inches of the slushy white stuff on us over a period of two days. Although this was a beautiful snowfall–coating trees and houses in a tranquil blanket of white–the general consensus of coworkers and friends was, “Auuuuugggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!”
Having had a glimpse of summer during my recent trip to Florida, this sunk me into a particularly foul mood. Spring seemed distant, I’m sick to death of wearing wool skirts, cashmere sweaters and boots everyday, and I long to sit on my patio and feel the sun on my face. What’s worse, my gloomy outlook is matched by an inner malaise. Everything seems hard and I don’t have a clear sense of purpose.
The other morning, fortunately, a harbinger of spring arrived: Daylight Savings Time. The annual mandate to “Spring Ahead” always cheers me up, even if I lose an hour of my precious weekend. It provides a much-needed kick in the pants to rouse me out of my winter funk and get me thinking about the possibilities that lie dormant—much like my garden. After all, I never know which flowers are going to appear from year-to-year, but the arrangement always delights me (at least, until August when the weeds take over).
So even though I’m not feeling very sunny these days, I’m going to do my best to have faith in the spring. As we’re reminded in Ecclesiastes (or by the Byrds, if you prefer), there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. Even those that haven’t been discovered yet.