I’ve got your “wintry mix” right here.
The wind chill was below zero Wednesday morning. About eight inches of snow fell where I live on Tuesday and Tuesday night.
School was canceled on Tuesday, and there was a two-hour late start on Wednesday.
It took me about a half an hour to scrape off my car windows Wednesday morning.
Winter has pushed things a little too far this year.
Did I mention it’s April?
The traditional etymology for the word ‘April” is from the Latin verb “aperire,” which means "to open" — it’s a reference to the time of year when trees and flowers begin to "open.”
Apparently, Old Man Winter instead decided that it was the time of year to “aperire” a big can of whoop-ass on all of us.
Last weekend, we were blanketed with about 14 inches of snow. That stuff had finally just about melted away when this latest insult rushed in and covered us back up. The cold temperatures expected for the rest of the week make it appear as if the snow cover won’t be going away any time soon, and a sneak peek into the future reveals that some more snow might be on the way early next week.
The situation was captured perfectly in a photo that appeared on the front page of the Charles City Press on Wednesday. It was a picture of a robin — the symbol of spring — sitting on a ledge that was covered with snow. The robin himself had snow in his feathers, and you could see heavy snowflakes falling around him. He appeared to be somewhat forlorn, sadly looking down over that cold ledge, pondering his fate. Wondering what had brought him to this place, this moment in his life. Staring into the abyss.
The photo was up on Facebook, and someone commented, “Poor robin. Don’t jump!”
My hat is off to fellow newsman Tom Nelson for taking such a perfect photograph, and extra-special thanks to the commenter for making me laugh out loud.
I grew up in northern Iowa and various parts of Minnesota, so long, harsh winters are not foreign to me. I have, however, lived the last 17 years of my life in southern Iowa, and although they do get plenty of snow, ice, cold and wind down there, it’s not quite at the same level as it is up here.
I’ve been spoiled. But I don’t believe I’m the only one made to feel miserable by this late-season winter warfare. Most of the people I’ve come across the last couple days seem just as miserable, if not more so, and a lot of them have lived here their whole lives.
Even my clean-spoken wife, who never uses foul or vulgar language, described the weather yesterday with the kind of words that approach the fine line of profanity.
So I’m not the only one out there who finds the lack of spring disturbing.
Now’s the part of the column when I usually tell you not to worry, remain calm, get a grip. Generally, I’ll have a little anecdote or clever proverb to make you laugh or feel good, to give you hope. I could quote author Hal Borland, who once wrote, “No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.”
Did that make you feel better? Yeah, me neither. I mean, it’s a nice quote, but it didn’t really change the way I feel.
Comedian and actor Robin Williams used to say, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘let’s party!’”
With all respect to the talented Mr. Williams, that one actually made me feel worse. The words are warm and spirited, but the air outside is still cold.
The thing is, yes, we all know winter won’t last forever. We all know that sooner or later, spring will explode all around us, bursting with life and color and fun. It’s taking it’s own sweet time this year, but before we realize it, spring will overcome its bashfulness and take its turn in the spotlight, pushing that diva known as winter aside. I’m hoping it will push roughly.
We’re just getting a little impatient as we wait for it to happen. We’re staring into the abyss, and that can be a bit agonizing, but we’re just going to have to stand here and take it, and wait the winter weather out.
In the meantime, don’t jump.