Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Thaw

The backyard really is somewhere
underneath all of that snow.
Although technically the shortest month of the year, February stretches on and on and on. Seemingly endless, as that final month of winter drags out into spring. Finally though the weather is taking a turn for the better and Minnesota's temperatures have climbed up and out of that subzero range. Hopefully we can kiss -25° goodbye until next winter.

A thaw in Minnesota is almost another season in itself as it's still winter but not yet spring. The mercury rises above 40°, which means that the middle school boys insist on wearing shorts to school. People are driving around with the car windows rolled down. I even cracked the sunroof yesterday! The neighbors have started to pull out their grills in hopes of a Sunday afternoon cook-out. The dog can stay outside for longer than 15 minutes as he will not freeze to death of exposure.

The huge mountains of snow are slowly sinking. I can tell as it's much easier to pull out into an intersection without risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. I can now actually see over the piles of snow. All of the remaining snow now takes on that lovely brown tone as it's all grainy, icy, and full of dirt and grit from the roads. The glaciers in our driveways slowly melt and form those dangerously icy pools of water at the end of the drive. Best of all, the sun actually feels warm (when the icy wind isn't gusting) and it starts to stay light past 6 pm. If you've ever spent any time in the Upper Midwest in the winter, you will understand the importance of those extra hours of sunlight.

Over the weekend when the Twin Cities first broke that 40° mark, the kids didn't even bother wearing their coats only stocking hats. They abandoned their snow boots and trod through the snow wearing their sneakers only to sheepishly come back inside to change out of their soaked sneakers and back into their boots. They broke out the roller blades and took to the streets. They pulled out their air soft guns and roamed the neighborhood like a posse. They even scraped the remaining ice out from underneath the basketball hoop so that they could finally shoot baskets outside.

I've noticed things slowly materializing in the yard as the snow slowly melts—tennis balls, dog bones, shrubs, nerf guns, snow shovels that were buried back in the December blizzard. Oddly the remains of a frozen dead fox began appearing in a snowbank along one of the roads.

For reasons that I will never quite understand, people keep driving their trucks out onto the somewhat frozen lakes despite warnings that cars, trucks, and people have been falling through the ice. This happens every year so you would think that people would learn. Maybe it's really not the best idea to drive your SUV out onto the lake during the thaw. Seems logical to me.

Enjoy this brief respite from winter as it will undoubtably return for a final blast or two. Until then, I'll be soaking up some sun and dreaming of July.


Anonymous said...

I'm guilty - I drove my SUV out onto Lake Minnetonka last weekend, when it was 45 degrees. There was 2 ft of ice out there a couple of weeks ago and it doesn't melt that fast! Or so I hoped! I wasn't the only one out there, so I figured it was okay. The warm sun sure feels good now!

Christianna said...

You are so much braver than me. I'm afraid to walk out onto the ice muchless drive on it. Just be careful out there!

Linda said...

Just writing to rub it in:

I am enjoying my first ever "winter without snow" in 40 years from San Diego living only about 7 miles from the international border.

It is difficult to explain to my 4-year-old that there is snow, ice and cold where their grandparents and cousins live. He looks at me with a confused glaze over his eyes and a slight smirk on his face which suggests to me that he thinks I am joking with him.

"Look, Mom --- snow --- it is winter there," he says when he sees the blizzards of the midwest on TV. "Wow, you are right Sam --it IS winter -- snow, what a concept," I think to myself. He should enjoy it. We are most likely moving north relatively soon and next winter should bring him in contact with the white stuff.

Enjoy your momentary thaw!
(Although you won't soak up too much sun with only your face showing with the sun at such a low point in the horizon, you can probably skip the sunscreen . . .)

Come visit us -- it is like spring in DC right now with the flowers starting to bloom and the plum trees blossoming. I need someone to go to the beach with and you need some Vitamin D and a bit of a tan to power you through March, April and May! (probably June too . . .)

Anonymous said...

I wasn't sure how to post - that first one was from me, Alyssa.