Writer’s Block: Confusion over the change in the weather

by Kelly Johnson

How about that weather?

It’s a common topic of discussion among many Minnesotans, regardless of the season or weather.

There’s talk about the heat, humidity, the cold, the snow, the rain.

But really, given the winter we’ve had thus far, how about that weather.

As you’re reading this, the weather has likely turned colder and perhaps there’s a bit of the white stuff on the ground. At least that’s what the forecasters are calling for as I write this.

But this morning as I let the dog out I was not greeted by the cold blast of air as is typical this time of year. Rather, I found myself greeted with mild temperatures and a relatively warm breeze blowing across my hands as I fastened the leash to the dog’s collar.

Not a bad greeting for early to mid January.

And things will only get better with temperatures flirting with record highs if forecasts for the coming days hold true.

I know that statistically, winters like this happen, but as someone who grew up in central Minnesota, I’m certainly not accustomed to winters like the one we have been having.

Sure, I remember a birthday where I walked off the school bus in shirt sleeves. But that’s mid-February, not early January.

I don’t recall a brown Christmas, such as the one we celebrated with my family this year.

It’s not that I’ve never seen a brown Christmas. There have been some while I’ve lived here. And there was the one I experienced while studying abroad and spending the holiday under rainy skies in Rome, Italy.

Although it is not a new experience for me (and I am certainly enjoying the warmer temperatures), it is one that makes the holiday season feel a bit strange. Like something – namely something cold, white and frosty – is missing.

For my kids, though, this lack of snow is an entirely new experience.

As youngsters growing up in Minnesota, they assumed there would always be a white Christmas, finding it hard to imagine anyone would need to dream of one as is sung in the familiar Christmas carol.

What little snow fell just prior to the holiday melted as Christmas break was just beginning to get under way.

Plans for sledding and snowman building were shelved in favor of afternoons in light jackets shooting hoops or kicking around the soccer ball.

Questions come weekly from my son as to when we can go skating on the outdoor rink, which is flooded over the basketball court at the neighborhood park.

He was able to play boot hockey with my husband earlier this winter, during a relatively cold spell, however, ice was still being made and skating was not an option.

Now it seems, the city has abandoned its efforts at our small park. The benches have been removed and city workers are likely limiting any ice making efforts for the remainder of the winter to some of the city’s larger and more utilized rinks.

When it was conveyed to our little hockey player, he couldn’t imagine a winter where such things might happen.

But that’s just exactly how this winter has been.

Efforts at making ice have been curtailed in favor of more warm weather pursuits.

Area golf courses opened earlier this week for those eager to hit the links and take advantage of unseasonably warm temperatures.

The law of averages says that eventually winter will strike in full force. Temperatures will plummet and snow will most likely fall. There will be snowmen made and colorful sleds skimming down snowy hills.

But when that happens, it’s nice to know that winter will be shortened and spring is just around the corner.