Both Orion and I had doctor appointments last week. I was going to take photos and write all about our busy week. But doctors offices are boring. The appointments were too. How many times in one week can you hear “make another appointment and we’ll deal with it next time.” without feeling a little like you’re wasting your days?
The weather was all over the place last week. We desperately need the moisture. We didn’t have enough snow cover and the lakes and rivers are exceptionally low for this time of year. I swear one day we had rain at 40 degrees, snow at 32, and then sunshine in the 50’s! (And in that order!)
It’s too early to get to planting anything up here. Our “last frost” date is May 15th, so we’ve got a wait. It feels like we should be out digging though, and the ground is warm (warmish). The nursery’s pansies (which are very hearty) are out, but not much else.
I did get out and start cleaning up around my peonies. There’s plenty of yard work to do before planting can happen. I’m just not in shape for it. I try to get out a little bit every day (when it’s not raining, or snowing). It doesn’t take much to make me worn out, but I’ve hopes of building up my stamina. It’s nice to be able to get out at all.
It’s nice to be able to get down on the ground and get up again. It’s nice to not be afraid to be outside without my phone in easy reach. (Just in case I can’t get up!) It’s nice to be digging in the dirt and feeling the sunshine warming my joints. It’s nice to be able to come back in and soak in the tub. Last year I couldn’t do much outside and soaking in the tub isn’t allowed for 6 weeks post surgery.
I’m enjoying the rainy days. I catch myself singing. I’ll keep trying to take advantage of the sun when it shines. Seems like a good plan.
What a difference a week makes! I’ve talked about our crazy weather in previous blogs. The Twin Cities has the largest population on Earth that deals with the Broadest temperature range. The other place where the highest highs and the lowest lows are that far apart is somewhere in Siberia! Even when the weather talks about “average” temperatures – that average is plus or minus 15 degrees. Hence the title of this particular blog. Last week I got to drive across town in a blizzard. Well, there were storm warnings and white out conditions. The temperatures were just below freezing hovering between 29 and 34. The storm system split across the cities. Out in the western suburbs of Minneapolis there was 6-8″ of snow. In town there was some snow (maybe an inch or two) but mostly sleet. In St. Paul it was rain, mixed with a little bit of snow. They got a dusting.
Both Orion and I woke up the next day because it was so bright! The setting waning moon reflected on all that new snow came in our windows brighter than sunrise. I tend to be very aware of the light because it changes so much. The variation in length of days isn’t as dramatic as further north, but it’s not insignificant. The angle also shifts as the Earth shifts in its relationship to the sun. And then there’s the effect of the weather. I may have mentioned that during our winters a bright sunny day generally means frigid temperatures and a grey day is considerably warmer.
Last weekend the high temperatures were between 70 and 74. The sun was shining and there were plenty of folks outside for Sunday BBQ or Easter egg hunts. It was glorious, even into the evening. Our days are getting noticeably longer. Sunset isn’t until after 8pm. Last month at the equinox sunset was 7:27pm. I got home later in the day Sunday than I expected because sitting outside was so bright and pleasant.
The rains continue to come and go, but at these higher temperatures its cleansing and pretty rather than dreary and deadly. The month is almost over and we’re finally coming to the point where April showers – rain or snow – may indeed bring May flowers.
When we think about spring the images that come to mind are bright and fresh. Tulips and crocuses and daffodils come in a range of happy colors. New shoots of grass, fresh buds on the trees, robins with their red breasts all evoke a feelings of hope and joy. Even in the worst of our spring images April showers bring may flowers.
Nowhere in the lexicon of spring imagery is the reality of grey ugly snow that refuses to melt. Those April showers in our imagination look more like a warm summer rain than like sleet beating against the roof. Gentle spring breezes of the mind are rarely underlined with cold northern gusts that carry the cold damp through all the layers. Winter hangs on tightly with icy fingers.
I do understand that all of this is the nature of where I live. There are areas of the country where planting is underway. Real planting, not starting seedlings indoors. I know there are places where snow is a rare thing that never overstays its welcome. I recognize that this weather we’ve all been complaining about is actually pretty normal for us this time of year.
I look back fondly on Groundhogs Day. Where I come from it really doesn’t matter what Punxsutawney Phil does. We are getting at least six more weeks of winter. When six weeks starts stretching into eleven it’s easy to become a little frustrated and impatient. Cabin fever and spring fever get all bundled up together in a grey haze and we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
To combat the malaise I’m making small efforts. Spring cleaning happens in fits and starts, even though it’s too cold to open up the windows. Hot house tulips bought at the grocery store are stuffed in vases. I’ll even splurge on asparagus, trucked in from who knows where.
I’ll light a fire in the fireplace and dream of campfires. I’ll make soup out of the asparagus ends and throw snow peas in the salad. I’ll tend those indoor seedlings and sharpen my gardening tools.
Or maybe, like the groundhog I’ll go back to bed. I’ll stick my head under the covers and stay warm until the sun decides to come out. Maybe in May? I have my fingers crossed.