Sweepin’ the Clouds Away

sunshine3If you do not live in Iowa, you may be unaware of the miracle that has taken place this week. And no, I am not talking about the fact that I still haven’t fallen into my broken toilet.

It’s warm here.

Well, okay, it’s in the forties here. Maybe in the fifties tomorrow. I know that all of you who live in the south are thinking “FORTY? Put your long johns on, girl, and settle in with a cup of cocoa and watch American Idol and just pray for spring!!”

But this is Iowa. In February. Fifties in February mean that people will be outside in their t-shirts and flip-flops scraping the last of the ice off their driveways. You think I’m kidding, but I’m really, really not. A couple weeks ago it was -17 here one morning, and that doesn’t include the windchill. And you don’t even know about wind till you’ve lived among the cornfields, my friends.

So to us Iowans, a thaw in early February is like an early Christmas present (or a really, really late one, kinda like the one my sister still says is on its way). If there is one thing I have learned during thirty years of life in the Midwest, it is that you take what you can get. Enjoy the nice weather, because tomorrow (or possible in ten minutes) it’s likely to be nasty out. This is true in the winter (freezing cold, windchills, snow, ice), in the spring (floods, rain, mud, random ice storms), in the summer (insane heat, humidity, mosquitos), and even in the fall (early winter). So we just take each day as it comes and enjoy it when we can go outside without any precautions besides a jacket or a pair of sunglasses.

So imagine my surprise today when I heard this shocking report on the news. This thaw does not mean that spring is here. REALLY??? You mean, I shouldn’t get out my capris and cutie little sandals and be ready for a pool party tomorrow?

This report deeply insulted me. It assumed that I’m too stupid to realize that on February FIFTH in IOWA it’s still winter. And it also crushed the joy I was so naively indulging in as I did the speed limit and snacked on french fries with no coat on in my van.

It’s like those people who, when you say you’re feeling pretty good today in spite of the extra twenty pounds of weight strapped onto your front end, launch into horror stories of their pregnancies or their births or their child’s colic or whatever. Just let me enjoy my moment, people. I know that tomorrow things are likely to change. I know that life is full of ups and downs and that the ups don’t last forever (in Iowa they sometimes only last ten minutes). I don’t need a reminder that tomorrow I’m likely to need skis to get to my van.

Wow, I really thought this was going to be a lighthearted funny post and here I go getting all serious and snarky.

That might have something to do with the fact that I decided to do battle with my children in the form of telling them to clean up their toys before bed. Talk about killing my joy.

I’m starting to steal my own joy, so let me just end with this:

May your day be full of joy in whatever form you find it, and may no one come along to rain on your parade (or snow on your happy mid-winter thaw, if you live around here).

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5 thoughts on “Sweepin’ the Clouds Away

  1. I can understand your “confusion” with the surprisingly warm temps in Iowa. Once in a great while, we would get that in northern Illinois too! However, I don’t miss it at all in Illinois. I do miss seeing you all though. Hang in there kiddo!! Spring is coming, slowly, but it is coming!!

  2. I know, I’m so excited! Although right at the moment here in Allamakee County it’s only 6 degrees, it’s supposed to get to 38 today – and the LOW TONIGHT IS ONLY 35! Can you believe that? A February night when it doesn’t freeze? How weird/wonderful!

    One thing I have noticed since moving back to the Upper Midwest after 18 years in Southern California is that we are lot less picky about our weather than most Californians. If it’s between about 30 below and about 110 above, we Midwesterners go outside. Southern Californians, on the other hand, are only comfortable with a range of between about 74 and 82 degrees. Colder than that, they huddle next to the fake fireplace with a hot buttered rum; warmer than that, they collapse on the couch with a gin and tonic. And moan.

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