February 1, 2011

Straw, stick or brick--just build it someplace warm

From the comfort of my fireside seat, I can objectively judge the evils of winter.

After work, my fellow parking lot parkers were already discovering the blanket of ice encapsulating our cars. They were scraping and cussing, windshield-wiping and trying to maintain circulation in their fingers. At first it felt like a party. I started my car, put on the defrost and got my scraper ready for action.

Less than a minute later, I had made only a two-inch dent in the ice blanket. Though I admired their tenacity, I questioned the sanity of the pioneers who first settled this area. And why, after all these generations, had the seemingly intelligent and reasonable members of my family not found a warmer place to live? The Prairie, for all it's wide open splendor, is a terrible place to spend winters.

Outside, temperatures plunge toward zero--that's Fahrenheit--degrees. Daylight has been obscured by gray-blue clouds and ice pellets pummel those gullible enough to venture outdoors. The branches and twigs on the bare trees, in their shining ice coats, sway heavily in the wind gusts. I wonder how long before winter gets too much for the tree, before the branches give up.

And how long until humans give up? Is it any wonder that people retire to Florida and Arizona? With age comes wisdom, and who in their right mind would put up with winter in the Midwest? Never mind the huff and the puff, Between the threat of snow up to your chinny-chin-chin, or the wind that will blow your house in--or at least leave you snowed-in--The Big Bad Winter is coming to depress all the little piggies.

Ready your shovels, your snowblowers and your Xanax. I don't believe in Groundhog's day, but I assume winter will last at least six more weeks. It's Nebraska.