Day 1829 – Unlocking in Minnesota
Hours of Daylight – 11:49
If spring is the best season in MN, "unlocking" is the worst. Kurt Vonnegut once said that four seasons are not sufficient. He proposed adding "locking" and "unlocking" in one of is many essays. Sitting here now i’m not sure if i’m quoting accurately when i say locking and unlocking surround winter and buffer spring and fall. Whether or not my hero meant it this way unlocking certainly describes what we are currently feeling and seeing. Spring has, by all accounts, not yet begun. What’s happening is winter simply won’t release the land.
I’m not kidding, it’s like a battle. Every morning the sun is rising earlier and earlier to raise the temperature of the ground and the air. But small, fast moving storms from the West or from Canada are being unleashed against us. They race across the land blotting out the sun and dumping inches of snow in a scant 30 minutes. I have no problems picturing Native Americans who somehow managed to live and even prosper in this brutal land picturing angry gods to the North sending their wrath across the unforgivingly open prairies.
Try and imagine what it must have been like! Week after week of darkness and subzero temperatures have gone by. Somehow you have managed to stay alive. Finally you observe the warm sun rising earlier and earlier. The snows begin to melt. The ground begins to thaw. You give thanks. Hell, I do that now! Your thoughts turn to planting, to rebirth, to life returning to the snow covered land. Then, without warning, you see the clouds on the horizon. In a matter of minutes the storm is over you. Snow begins to swirl. Perhaps you’ve walked several miles from your village for the first time in months, but now you’re in whiteout conditions. The stinging pellet snow penetrates every seam of your garment. You take shelter by the only trees you can find. The storm seems to be over only you! Look, there’s blue sky only a short distance to the south! What have you done to deserve this? How have you displeased the gods? The storm passes and you see your tracks have been completly covered. To the people back in the village you’ve been erased from the land.
The snow from these "clippers" quickly melt, but when the storms come late in the day the quickly melting snow meets rapidly dropping nighttime temps. The result is secondary roads become polished skating rinks without the slightest warning. Even cautious seasoned Minnesota Drivers, all six of them, can be caught unaware. For the rest of the self-importent morons behind steering wheels of gas-sucking SUV’s, the result is some of the worst traffic accident numbers of the season.
I’ve said before Spring is the best season to be in Minnesota. I still believe that to be true. But, even worse than the horrible summers, "Unlocking" is the worst season for the upper midwest.