Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why Do I Live in Minnesota? I'll Tell You.....

Why do I live in Minnesota? This is a question I have been asked several times in the last couple of days. Yesterday, I posted this picture on Facebook. It is a picture of Ruanita standing behind one of the piles of snow that line both sides of our street. Yes, she is standing. So yea....why DO I live in Minnesota?

To be perfectly honest, I have wondered that myself. A lot. As a matter of fact, I have wondered that numerous times this winter alone. When I am trying to get the kids to cooperate with putting on boots and coats and hats and scarves and gloves every single day, I wonder why I live here. When I am trying to strap wiggling kids into car seats with hands on the verge of developing frostbite, I wonder. When I finally get the kids strapped in only to find that the driver side door of my van in frozen and will not shut, causing me to go back into the house to get a pan of warm water to pour on the door to thaw it....I wonder. When water is seeping in through the walls of my living room and bedroom from the ice dams on my roof, I wonder. When my skin is so dry that it cracks and bleeds despite my daily lotion regimen, I wonder. When every muscle in my admittedly out-of-shape body screams out in pain from the ceaseless shoveling of heavy, wet snow, I wonder.

So yes....I wonder why I live here too. As a matter of fact, as I was driving around for forty-five minutes after work yesterday trying to find a place to park--my street had yet to be plowed and there were cars stuck at either ends of my block--I seriously considered why it is I choose to live in Minnesota. Believe it or not, in that moment of rage (yes, I was raging and the curse words were flowing), I still managed to come up with a couple of reasons to not flee Minnesota running and screaming.

In that moment, my mind turned to spring. It's hard to imagine spring being around the corner when we received fifteen inches of new snow this weekend. But, it is. Despite the blanket of white, I can smell its impending arrival in the air. It's coming. When I was growing up in Kentucky, I rarely noticed the arrival of spring. I remember rainy and icy winters. And I remember scorching hot, humid summers. The moments in between were short-lived and didn't leave much of an impression on my memory. I have little recollection of the arrival of spring. Since moving to Minnesota, that has changed. Spring is monumental here. Spring is renewal. Spring is rebirth. Spring is proof positive that you managed to survive another grueling winter. It is a testament to the hearty Midwesterner you have become. It is a reward for all of the shoveling shit that you endured for the previous five months.

By the end of March, you will most certainly find me out in my yard, squatting over, brushing aside the snow, peering at the ground in search of the tiniest of green shoots reaching for the sky. There is nothing more gratifying--more joyous--than catching sight of that first bit of green. That sight instantly lifts my spirit. It renews me. It makes everything else worthwhile. And there is nothing like the shade of that first green in Minnesota. Kentucky has it's Bluegrass. But Minnesota has the most precious, fragile, delicate shade of green. The first color of the spring.

Before moving to Minnesota, I don't remember ever marveling at the beauty of nature. It was taken for granted. It was assumed there would be daffodils. There would be tulips. There would be dogwood trees in bloom. Yes, they were beautiful, but they weren't appreciated on the same level. In Minnesota, nothing is assumed. In the dead of winter, nothing is taken for granted. On days like today when the snow is piled shoulder-high around us, daffodils and tulips seem like an impossibility. Unfeasible. Winter appears to be insurmountable. For this exact reason, spring is all the more glorious. It is nothing short of a miracle that daffodils and tulips sprout out of the utter lifelessness of February. Miracles are rare these days, so I am going to take them where I can get them.

So for now, I will stay in Minnesota. I will endure the winters for the sole purpose of enjoying the springs. This is the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Few places combine cosmopolitan city life with the wonders of nature in the way Minneapolis does. This is the place I choose to call home now. I am at Mother Nature's mercy. But I am also the recipient of her many glorious and exquisite gifts.

So see....being a Minnesotan doesn't totally suck.


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