Today I think I experienced the most intense bout of cabin fever I’ve had since I moved to Milwaukee. My car’s in the shop and I can’t go anywhere unless I walk. It’s only 10 degrees outside so I’ve opted for the couch in stead. In central Ohio, where I spent my ‘formative years’, the beginning of March made us gaily sing “You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re in to the light..” (OK, maybe I was the only one actually singing). Not so, in Wisconsin. The Spring thaw of the Frozen Tundra doesn’t happen until….May. All right.. late April. Depending on what you consider the harbinger of the thaw to be.
In Ohio, I looked forward to watching the spring unfold in a predictable way. Red Buds and Crocus were the first to bloom in early March; Daffodils and Hyacinth in April; followed in early May by Tulips and then Dogwoods and finally, the crowning glory at the end of May, just in time for my birthday, Peonies; my favorite flower of all (I know, these are Cosmos, not Peonies, and they bloom in July; just go with it). It all happens a little later here, in Wisconsin. Like about a month and a half later. I know that now, and I have tried to learn how to pace myself. I spoke to a friend of mine on Friday, who moved here from Delaware and should know better. He said ” Aren’t you excited? It is almost Spring! We will be sailing before you know it!”. Now, I hate to be a wet blanket and I thought like that too, for the first few years after I moved here. I gently broke the bad news, “Are you Nuts? We aren’t going to see Lake Michigan for…2 months..AT LEAST!” Not swayed by my soothing tone, he calmly said ” Oh, no. We’re almost there.” I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.
Well, I sincerely and humbly apologize to the Winter Deities I must have offended with my negative karma. Jack Frost, The Abominable Snowman, Mr. Freeze…Really, I am sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way, but we did not deserve the 15 inches of snow we got yesterday. And it was a little obvious that you had a specific target in mind since the snow only fell on downtown Milwaukee. Lake Effect, my big toe. The radio traffic guy kept repeating that “yes, there are flurries and white-out conditions on the freeway downtown, but don’t worry, the ‘western suburbs’ are snow free and dry”. What’s up with that? The TV weather people were claiming it was a ‘fluke’. Jack, are you going to let ‘em get away with dismissing you as a fluke? Why don’t you go dump snow on their houses and show ‘em who is boss? ‘Cause, I’m over it and found a way to cure my cabin fever. Nana, nana, boo, boo, Mr. Freeze. I started looking at my sailing pictures from October and I felt a surge of adrenalin. And serotonin and dopamine and all that stuff too. Come late April sailors thumb their noses at the weather and boats will start going back into the water. We can’t help ourselves. Once the boat is in the water, we have to get on the boat and touch everything to see if anything changed over the winter. And then after we are on the boat, we are compelled to sail somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it is just out of the harbor and back. Yes, it is still cold in late April in Wisconsin. There are few spring flowers brave enough to poke their heads through the earth to see if it is Spring yet. But we are Sailors. We know how to wear thermal underwear and turtle necks on the water. What do you think we have been doing all winter? We have been buying more foul weather gear so we can sail every single second that we can squeeze out of the season on Lake Michigan.
It’s now Thursday. Mother Nature is in cahoots with Old Man Winter and they lauging at us. It’s 46 degrees and the snow from Monday is starting to melt (with the help of a light drizzel). If the rain lets up a little I think I will put on some shorts and my yellow raincoat, like the Gorton’s Fish guy, and take a walk down to the lake. Take that, Winter.