Down on the Farm: Heat wave
It doesn't take long.
After a couple of days of sweltering heat with heavy humidity last week, coupled with swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes, the entire six months of winter is forgotten.
Sure, the heat makes the corn grow six inches per day. Everything green needs the heat. Without it, the flowers won't ever bloom nor will the apples ripen.
But, unlike people from parts of the country with sauna-like conditions much of the year, I find the muggy weather as debilitating as a blizzard in January.
Air conditioning saves the day. Without it, I think I would move to Alaska for the summer.
Then there are severe weather threats which scroll across the bottom of the television screen for much of the summer.
One day, I want to travel to all those counties out in Dakota listed in the storm warnings just to see if anything's left. Stutsman. Griggs. Traill. Steele. Ramsey.
I know the county names by heart due to the National Weather Service's monotone storm warnings, but I have no idea where the counties are.
All I know is that those same counties seem to get beat up nightly all summer. Due to the prevailing westerlies, we later get what they've got now, so it's a good idea to watch.
Eventually, the nightly booms and crashes disturb sleep enough to tire a person out, causing one to drag even more during the heat of the day.
Yet without the five severe weather threats per week summer brings, we wouldn't have enough rain for the crops to grow.
Yep, the Larson's grain bin got tossed across the county line last night--but we sure needed the rain.
It's too bad the old cottonwood fell across the driveway--but we sure needed the rain.
How soon we forget the trials of winter. It is human nature that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
The other side of the fence, in this case, consists of a cold, clear December evening where the sun sets at five o'clock and you load the stove with wood and come in for the night to pork roast and mashed potatoes.
After a soul-warming supper, gobbled in the warmth of a well-lit house, you stretch out on the recliner for a little nap. There is nothing else to be done but light some candles and play Scrabble.
After a sound winter night's sleep, you get up to sip a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise in the crystal-clear sky. Frost festoons the tree branches and the world is at peace.
During summer in the northland, the sun gets up so early that I can count on one hand the sunrises I actually see between Memorial day and Labor day.
For most of the summer, I awake to see the orange spot on the wall from the low morning sun and take that as a signal to roll over and sleep until a decent hour.
By the time the decent hour arrives, the sun is so high in the sky that it is already hot and you feel as if you missed the one chance during the day to get anything done outside without getting heat stroke.
We spent six months of winter waiting for summer, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
When summer comes, I think about October. Isn't that about the nicest month of the year? The skeeters are frozen off, the pie apples are ripe, the leaves have turned, the sunrise burns off the fog in the morning and the sunsets are quick but spectacular.
The cool evenings can be spent watching the Twins lose to the Yankees, an annual autumn ritual.
When people leave the area and move to soft climates like Arizona, southern California or Florida, they often report that they miss Minnesota's four seasons.
They usually say this while back visiting during the summer. Most of them haven't experienced a winter in thirty-eight years. If they had, I suspect their nostalgia for the four seasons would fade.
Yet, there is something to be said for our annual cycle of natural calamities. There's always a carrot out on the end of the stick, something different ahead.
The snow will fall, the snow will melt. The water will go up, the water will go down. The rain will come, the rain will stop. The leaves will sprout, the leaves will fall.
If you're bored living in the north, don't blame the weather.