Shorter

Last night I told my wife, “Just think, this week the days are going to start getting shorter. Winter is coming, baby!”

She looked at me with an expression I vaguely recognized from a few other moments over the past 47 years and said, “Why on earth would you tell me that?”

I didn’t answer. Occasionally, I’ve found that thinking things through before offering an opinion has eased a little of life’s friction.

Here’s the thing, though. The temperature was 101 degrees yesterday, and it's supposed to be 100 today. I checked the ten-day forecast and then vowed to never do that again. I started watering the orchard, which I’ve never done this early in the year, the giant Newfoundland is spending her days with her belly plastered to the air-conditioned kitchen tiles, and my wife’s flowers, usually a riot of color and fragrance in mid-June, are shrinking into a shell-shocked stupor. So, I was just trying to offer a little hope with my winter announcement.

I suppose the impending onslaught of darkness and cold might not be seen as hopeful by some, but when you live where we live, you take what you can get.

That can be hard to explain.

My sister and brother-in-law visited last week. This is always a cause for some concern, because he comes from a part of the world with great food and great weather. We live in a place with the worst weather in the world and a reputation for lutefisk. The fact that they’ve been married almost 50 years just goes to show that while love may not conquer all, it conquers a lot.

For most of their marriage, they came to Minnesota around the Fourth of July when it was 110 degrees or else for Christmas, when it was –20. Being a polite man, so he never voiced out loud that we were all crazy to live here, but there were hints every now and then.

Not this time, though. They headed east the day before the hot weather hit and while they were here, we had the best weather that early June on the prairie can offer, which is pretty darn good. Flowers bloomed on schedule, we sat on the patio until dark with nary a mosquito in sight, and ate a terrific steak dinner as we enjoyed the spring air at what must be one of the few outside dining experiences in towns of less than 250 people. We’re still battling our Covid instincts, so socializing outside the family was kept to a minimum, but that’s just the world we live in. All in all, it was a great visit weather-wise. And we all know what that means.

It means that for every day of good weather, the universe requires that we suffer further down the line.

Oddly enough, I’m not sure it works the other way. In March of 1975, we spent our wedding night driving to Winnipeg in a blizzard. That should have set us up for good weather for a while, but the first year we farmed was in 1976, which was the worst drought in 100 years. So don’t fool yourself by thinking that bad weather now means good weather later. That’s just not how it works.

But good weather today? Baby, you’re going to pay somewhere down the road. I just wish it wasn’t so soon.

Copyright 2022 Brent Olson