Surly Spring Staggers Toward Summer

Did you enjoy spring? I think it was on a Tuesday this year.

Most of us follow meteorological seasons which means that spring is March 1 – May 31. Assuming that, we will have maybe three weeks of decent spring weather this year. With the long, cold winter followed by a cold spring I was thinking that maybe the Upper Midwest was the rare area of the planet that didn’t get the memo on global warming. But that’s just the way it is in northern flyover land. It seems like our transitional seasons of fall and spring are just disappearing.

With daily high temps that can fail to reach 40 degrees one week and then hit 90 the next, you might need to bring a wardrobe change just going to the grocery store. I put the screens back on the windows in early April when we reached 60 degrees one day. Then I promptly shut the windows for the next month. You’d think I would have learned by now.

And then there’s the wind. Is it just me or has much of the past year been much windier than usual? Just after I brought out the deck furniture we had winds that tipped it all over. The chairs and table are all now strapped with bungee cords. Maybe I should buy some color-coordinated ones or just stack the chairs like we’re supposed to. I’ve been biking in some of these winds which can nearly tip you over if you suddenly get hit from the side.

Well, this isn’t California where the sun shines almost every day and you don’t have to worry about rain ruining your picnic. Of course you could argue that California is drying up, is on fire much of the year and could become an island with the next earthquake. But they don’t need to haul a trunk full of warm clothes year-round.

Where we live you need a checklist to prepare for any event. Shorts and T-shirts should be supplemented with jeans and sweatshirts. It gets cool on some summer evenings, you know. You might need boots and a stocking cap, too. I think most of you know what I mean.

Every spring we get storms that could produce damaging winds and tornadoes. I think it’s a conspiracy by the local TV stations so they can interrupt every show for extended periods during prime time to show us, to the minute, which hamlets are next in line for annihilation. They zoom in on radar to highlight an area that has a rotation that they insist could be the precursor to a tornado. It’s like looking at an X-ray of your bad shoulder as the doctor points out the trouble areas that to you look like a Rorschach test.

I suppose their intense detail is a good service because more communities have been impacted by the recent storms than ever and people have been killed. But the TV stations need to be careful. If they overwhelm us with storm coverage they’ll reach a point where we’ll quit paying attention and just switch to Netflix. Whenever we’re told to head to the basement, I go to a window to watch the storm’s approach.

Added to this spring’s peculiarities is a request of homeowners to refrain from mowing for the entire month of May. Unsurprisingly it’s called No Mow May. It allows time for the little pollinators in your grass to do their spring thing, whatever that is. Of course, just before the No Mow May proclamation I bought a new electric lawn mower. The manufacturer was even so kind as to send me an email wanting me to rate how well I like it. At this point it hasn’t even touched the lawn.

So we’re supposed to let the grass and weeds grow, refrain from fertilizing and just stay off the yard. Like No Shave November, No Mow May should include a contest. In this case the winner would be whoever has the ugliest yard on May 31. Mine is already a standout in our neighborhood with a fine crop of dandelions, crabgrass and some tall weeds that I’m going to need help identifying. Edina gives you a sign to post in your yard promoting No Mow May. Edina? Good luck with that. A sign in my yard would at least help explain why it looks so terrible.

Because of the cold weather earlier this month it was easy to forego mowing but now I’ve seen a lot of people mowing. They probably watched their neighbors and once one or two of them mowed, they decided it must be OK. It’s much like early morning snow blowing.

My neighbors on each side have already mowed. I’m not sure I can wait until May 31.

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