I was surprised to find that though this past winter threw every kind of so called foul weather at us that it could think of, I walked through it cozy, calm, and unscathed. I had no complaint. Deep snowstorms pelted down with alarming frequency and the temperatures toyed daily with the record books as they dipped consistently into the double digit minuses. Is that too general? How about, it was minus 30 a lot! Snow was everywhere! I would walk outside without a jacket and be cold, bitterly cold yes, and yet not minding it, indeed, courting it, testing it like it was a fascinating curiosity. It wasn't that I loved the weather exactly, not in the same way I loved the weather in the first part of May, when it was 55 or 60 out, but I didn't mind the weather, or I liked it. I accepted it. I made a home in it. It interested me. It surprised me by not getting to me, not hurting me, fitting me.
During the winter, especially in the long second half of it, the complaints around me about the weather became regular and vociferous. I never knew what to do. Everyone just assumed I agreed with them: another foot of snow? Of course I must hate it. Twenty below zero at nine in the evening? Of course I must think "Enough already!" But I didn't. I just waited for them to finish, like they were speaking to me in a foreign language, one that I knew not a word of and that they assumed I spoke fluently. They never seemed to expect any response and took no joy when I had positive things to say about blizzards and arctic cold, so I just let it pass and listened, with total non comprehension and a hopefully alert look on my face.
It's a nice thing to be equanimous with the natural world, and I truly enjoyed it. But it was decades in the making and apparently borne of a long adaptation to Minnesota. Also it was strange. Every other winter I have ever spent here, most of them somewhat more mild and short than this one, came to a point where I'd had enough, where I was cold and sick of it and mad. I kept waiting for this other shoe to drop, for the hypothermia to set in, for the deadly fall on the ice to come, but they never did. So I walked around all winter thinking "How odd to feel like this." I am thankful for this strangeness because I believe it kept me humble, it kept me from annoyingly chastising people for not enjoying our lovely snowstorms, it allowed me to (mostly) quietly let strangers vent to me about our cruel winter. And I am glad I was like that because in the last week everything flipped.
In the last week our late spring got very beautiful. The rains stopped, and the temperature climbed. It hit 85 and I loathed it. I hated it. I detested it. No, not always, not even much, but as soon as it was that hot there were places where I would overheat, sitting, walking, exposed to the sun like an angry Gollum, making the brutal way from my car to the library across exposed asphalt, and every time this happened it made me despise our summer weather. It lead me to bitterly resent weather forecasters and harshly fault them for predicting 86 when it turned out to be 89. I dreaded the frightful intensity of three o'clock in the afternoon. And already, before June even hit, some part of me shut down, just waiting for October.
And so, finally miserable about the weather, people come up to me and exult about how lovely it is. "Finally!" they say, "We've earned this!"
I do not understand these strange sounds coming from their mouths. I don't know this language, if it is indeed language, but whatever it is it sounds harsh and unmusical to me. However, maybe if we went north, perhaps to the shore of Lake Superior, or perhaps even further north than that, and they told me again? Perhaps if my brain weren't swollen and addled by the heat, perhaps then I could understand.