Posted by: chlost | April 9, 2014

Again, I ask, “Why do I live here?”

In the place where I live, although we claim to have four seasons, there really are not. In fact, in a place where it could be 95 F and 99% humidity day in July or a -25F with -50F windchill day in January, there are just two seasons. Winter and mosquitoes.

This is the time of year when it is very difficult to tell if it is November or April. The grass is brown. There are no leaves on the trees. There are little spots of snow on the ground. The wind blows shivers through your clothing.

Only those of us who have survived a lifetime of seasons here can easily spot the telltale signs which differentiate spring from fall. Is it November or is it April?

My favorite tree.

My favorite tree.


Same tree. Different mindset.







How can we tell the difference? Here are a couple of hints:

* The brown grass is flat in the spring, bent down from the weight of a winter’s worth of snow. In the fall, the brown grass still shows the mowing lines across the yard.

*In the spring, a 55 degree day will bring out the flip-flops and shorts. A 55 degree day in November is met with down coats, scarves and gloves.

*People on the street will keep their heads down, hiding the hollow, panicked look in their eyes in November as the impending winter approaches. In the spring, the twinkling, smiling eyes of winter survivors will greet passersby, accompanied by a friendly nod or wave.

Same sunny day, same temperature. Different mindset.

We won’t see flowers or leaves on the trees and the grass won’t need to be mowed for several weeks yet.

But we know. It is April. Spring. Not Fall.


We made it through another winter.

You might think that after a horrible winter of record cold and snow, the entire state would move to a warmer place. That would be logical.

But we have beautiful summers here. Green, lush, fairly moderate temperatures. We have lakes, rivers, wildlife, culture. It is an awesome place to live in the summer.

And we are a bit like the mother who gives birth to multiple children. The birth process of winter is painful and we swear we will never go through it again. But that painful process leads to such a beautiful, wonderfully loved child called Summer .  Somehow we forget the pain, and find ourselves facing another long cold winter each fall.

Here I am.





  1. You have grass?!? Wow! Don’t forget there is still another large country to the north of us before you get to the arctic. Only 500 miles to the northeast is James Bay and they have polar bears!

    • Yes, I suppose it could be worse with 24 hour darkness. With polar bears. Still, I am very depressed to be hearing about a winter storm warning for the next day or so.

  2. Mosquitoes as a season? Ick! 🙂 What you’ve described explains a lot about why we see so many cars in Arizona with Minnesota plates during October to April.

    I can relate to your sentiments, but exactly flipped- your summers are your salvation… they are misery in Phoenix. I asked why I lived there many times… until we finally moved 🙂

  3. Wow. I don’t kind the long, hot summers here but I hate even our relative short winters. But Spring is a definite season – warm and loads of green and flowers.

    • I will be enjoying your spring with you on your blog. Wish I could smell the spring air, though.

  4. I live on the prairie and we often joke that we have Winter and Summer with two days of Spring and three of Autumn in between. And yes, 55 in November feels sooo cold, but 55 in April is sandal weather.

  5. You’re so good. I feel like winter comes on in pretty straightforward fashion whereas spring lurches toward us–warm days and then 10 more inches of snow (predicted for tomorrow here). I’m ready to get past the lurching!–Jocelyn

    • Way too much lurching here….getting motion sickness just listening to the weather forecasts.

  6. Not even the thought of summer and being able to ride all the beautiful bike trails we have makes me want to stay here much longer! I like hot and humid weather, sunshine. Why I ever left the tropics and ended up back in MN is one of my life’s mysteries!

    I’ll add to your list. When it got below 60 in the fall I put away my bike, too cold, but I was out biking around frozen lakes once the temp got above 40 this spring. Guess it’s a good thing since we don’t seem to be able to warm up much beyond that!

  7. Missed this one back in spring, but very well said!

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