Spring … heh. It’s been a week since the season changed, yet there hasn’t been hide-nor-hair of it, or anything else for that matter. As I set off this morning, all I could see was white. White, the color of innocence, the color of purity and cleanliness … I can’t stand it. The promises of the season have yet to be realized. The rose gardens remain buried, the birds have yet to return and the bees, well, that’s another story. The icy grip of old man winter has yet to be loosened, but I cannot let that stop me — I have to leave. I have no choice in the matter. A matter of the utmost importance has thrust itself upon me, and the punishment for failure is dire.
My journey has only just begun, and I am already questioning my chances of success. As I step outside my face is sliced by the bitter winds. We were supposed to be through this already, it was supposed to be over, but I learned long ago never to put my trust in mother nature; she’s a cruel mistress who takes great pleasure in the suffering of the masses. Complaining is getting me nowhere however. I’ve put up with months of this kind of weather already, what’s one more day? It’s not like it matters anyway, I’m on my way out, and nothing can stop me.
The venture to the car was a treacherous one. On my way I came across a set of footprints, similar in size and stride to my own. They only made it a few feet from the door before scurrying back in, presumably to a warm bed. Perhaps they were mine on a previous endeavor. I cannot say, but the option of retreat was not one I was afforded this time. Luckily for me however, my vehicle is a bit more trustworthy than the supposed changing of the seasons.
As I drive down the zig-zag of a supposedly “straight” street, I begin to succumb to one of the most dreaded lines of thought that one can have over the winter. The line of thought that questions one’s sanity, and why one would choose to live in such a cold wasteland. Foolishly I entertain the thought.
Where would I go? I could move to the desert southwest. As stark a contrast as you can get to the endless winters you get here. Then again, the only real difference between sand and snow is the color, and the fact that you can’t get rid of the sand, and it does manage to get everywhere.
So a more temperate climate may be in order. I could move to the Everglades. It’s warm, no sand, and you can golf year-round … and you could also get eaten alive at said golf course. I don’t think I could handle the constant threat of alligators lurking about every corner, I have a hard enough time with centipedes.
So, how about the Northeast? They have decent sports teams, but for the amount it costs to rent a one-room apartment I could own a dang good house here, and I wouldn’t have to deal with the threat of hurricanes on top of the snow!
So how about the Northwest? No, all I am doing is swapping the snow for rain, and with a volcano looming over your shoulder to boot.
California? Too crazy. Tennessee? Too country. Wyoming? Why? I suppose I could embrace the cold and just move to Canada … but, you know, Canadians.
These “flights of fancy” were a good distraction, but I’m not going anywhere. I’ve lived through the worst that winter, summer, fall and spring have had to offer, and I’m still here. I’ve given this town 30 years of my life, and even though I’m out risking life and limb on the road right now, I’m okay with that. This is my home, this is where I belong.
Through sheer force of will I have managed to trudge, slide, skid and fishtail my way to my destination, and am greeted by a raspy voice. I may not be able to understand the garbled transmission, but I know it is a friendly greeting, one which I am quick to reciprocate.
“Yeah, I’ll take a sausage and egg biscuit and two breakfast burritos, extra picante sauce please!”
Success! I shall eat and live another day!
Chris Hamble is a freelance writer and humor columnist serving newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and is a lifelong Stillwater resident.