Each year, late autumn begins dropping hints as to what lies ahead. Day by day the cooling temperatures remind us of the coming of winter. Another Midwest winter with all of its snow and cold, its slippery, icy roads, and its cancelled activities and appointments. Winter, with its huge (this year exceptionally huge) home-heating fuel bills. Such weather is really nothing new. We’ve all been there before.
Everyone loves springtime. The bright, warm days and new plans for the coming summer. And all of that fresh, new, green growth. Many of us look forward to the return of the songbirds and the northward migration of waterfowl.
As we move through the summer, we may begin to complain about the heat and the insects. And about all the work the lawn and garden require. Also the air-conditioning costs. But, overall, most of us are usually quite happy and content. We can usually find a spot of shade where we can sit and relax and think. The warm weather makes possible many sports and other outdoor activities. And who can remain unhappy long when surrounded by our beautiful green fields, hills, and bluffs. And our great rivers and streams.
Even long after retirement, many of us who grew up on farms still thrill to the growth progress we see in the roadside cornfields. As we drive by, we watch for fields in which the young plants have reached the “knee-high stage.” Next we keep an eye out for “hip-high corn,” and later for corn that is “shoulder-high.” Next, it is the “tasseling out” and “shooting ears” stages. Lush, healthy green of knee-high, weed-free fields of soybeans and alfalfa can have a calming, almost healing effect on a worried, troubled soul.
Next comes autumn, which is most people’s favorite season of all, and the one we would least want to miss out on. When the hardwood trees and sumac begin to don their bright clothing, it is almost as if we are in a different world, one with its own sights, sounds, and smells. Fall is a great season for nostalgia. For remembering countless great times we have enjoyed in many autumns long gone by.
After the bright leaves have fallen, we know that it will be only a short time until the landscape will be wearing a white blanket of snow and our midwest winter will be here. And then we must face that annual question: Go or stay? Do we really want to remain here to face another frigid and angry midwest winter? Or should we join the “snow birds,” and head for a warmer southern clime?
So far, except for occasional trips that are two or three weeks in length, we have always opted to remain here in the frosty Snow Belt. Perhaps we are in a rut. Or maybe just content with our regular routine here at home. Or curious to see just what the heck is going to happen next around here. No, I can’t say that we really enjoy winter all that much. But we also have no real desire to leave.
How are you all dealing with winter this year?
Early morning radio
Says, “No school, because of snow.
And no basketball, as well.”
Tomorrow? Too soon to tell.
Beneath dark and brooding sky
White snowdrifts are soon knee-high,
Raging north wind howls and roars,
A good day to stay indoors.
All day long this storm will rage,
Best check the fuel tank’s gauge,
Keep all doors and windows locked,
Be thankful our shelves are stocked.
Make sure the snow shovel’s near,
Check all snow removal gear,
Everything we’ll need and use,
Mittens, scarves, and overshoes.
Wind-driven snow moves and shifts
Front walk hides ‘neath waist-deep drifts.
Driveway heaped from street to door
Snowplow will add a lot more.
Power lines must all be down
Up on the north end of town.
Neighbor gives a friendly call –
No heat at the bingo hall.
Friends in Arizona boast,
Weather down there’s warm as toast.
They phone just to rub it in,
I can almost see them grin.
Winter visits us each year,
But what do have we to fear?
Just the thought of spring’s warm smile,
Almost makes this all worthwhile.
Truly, what could be more grand
Than this winter wonderland?
Wouldn’t it seem sadly strange
Not to see the seasons change?
So far, this midwest winter’s been rough,
The next month could still be tough.
’Though right now we’re in a bind,
Can springtime be far behind?
Emil Schmit is the 93 year old father of Pam Buttikofer, one of the owners of Imperfect Women. Emil continues to write although age and health issues have slowed him down a bit. He is a is a self-trained poet, free-lance writer, public speaker, and journalist. His weekly column, “Rhyme and Reason,” appeared for over twenty years in the Dubuque, Iowa daily newspaper, the Telegraph Herald. You can read more of Emil’s Bio here. The typewriter pictured on the bio page is one that he sat at for over 50 years creating many of his “rhymes and reasons.”