Marolt: Smile … before you get a face full of slushy snow
Phew! It’s March, and I am finished shoveling my driveway … until next winter. I mean it! The calendar is my tried and true bellwether of the weather. After March 1, the sun does all the snow removal around my house. I don’t care if it dumps 2 feet tomorrow. I’ll let it sit, and my driveway will be completely clear in three days, tops.
Now, don’t try this trick at home. If you leave a big storm’s droppings sit, there’s no guarantee there won’t be an advancing glacier there until May. I’m not saying there will be, I’m just saying there might be. You take snow shoveling on a case-by-case basis. I have special circumstances. I live on the south side of the village and the driveway is on the west side of my house. The sun is now high enough in the noon sky to be free of the surrounding trees. Let it beam!
Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this because summer is almost here. It’s not actually almost here, but it’s time to start treating it like it is. Oh crud, I slipped up again, figuratively, at least. Think positive! One more time: Summer is here! That’s more like it.
I’m not crazy. I’m just not going to be one of those people who, around June 1, start bemoaning that summer is short. To heck with that. By the time the sun gets turned back by the border guard at the Tropic of Cancer, I’m going to be giving the dog days a bone.
Summer is a state of mind! Already I’m slathering sunscreen on my face every morning after shaving. You can’t be too careful with aging skin, you know. And, that smell; oooh, oooh that smell … coconut oil just does it for me. There are a lot of good memories associated with that scent, and none of them have anything to do with frostbite, snow or ice.
You know, in the middle of winter my head is usually tucked so far down into the hood on my down parka that I can hardly see through the driving snow to figure out much more than the general direction I’m heading. There is an element of luck in finding City Market from my office four blocks away. Now I’m wearing nothing but Polar Fleece and stretching out my stride on the sunny sides of the streets. Why? Because it matters! Once again, the sun has gained the upper hand, pinning the shadows tightly against the buildings, and the sunny side is actually sunny again! Don’t forget the dark glasses.
The driving is carefree again, kind of. Snow doesn’t seem so nasty when it’s melting as soon as it hits the pavement. Heck, you can think of it like rain and keep right on singing as you cruise. Even if it is a little icy on the way into work, there’s no need to fret about the drive home. Not only is it almost guaranteed to warm up enough during the day to melt everything, it will be light outside so you can actually see what’s going on beyond the cone of your headlights.
Even when skiing this time of year you sense it coming. Just feel the radiant heat absorb into your clothing as you ride the lift. Close your eyes and open your imagination as you turn your face directly toward the searing sun. Suddenly the insides of your eyelids are red. You’re hot. You’re sweating. Sheesh, if I don’t get some fluids in me soon, I might get dehydrated. Yes!
So, it’s one thing to start making your list of all the hikes and rides you want to do and what you’re going to plant in your garden when June is already here. By then it’s already too late, though. If you wait until summer is obvious, summer is already gone. Then you can plan and scramble with every moment of available daylight savings time and you still won’t get a fraction of what you want to do this summer done.
Trust me; I’m not one of those types who push the seasons. Summer’s the only one that needs any help. You see those three cars coming up the highway? In front and back are big orange snowplows with amber lights flashing behind wild plumes of magnesium chloride-saturated slush. The one in the middle is a convertible with you in it. All I’m saying is that you better be ready to pop the top when the road dries out for a second.
Roger Marolt has noticed skiers who love summer making a remarkable comeback from near extinction. firstname.lastname@example.org
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