Door County Late Winter
Plowed snow covers a neighbor’s stonewall. Deer follow each other’s tracks leaving pathways through the woods. Ermine patrol exterior of houses in search of mice. Squirrels catapult between bare tree branches.
Three days of bright sun makes a friend’s installation of solar panels look like a good investment. Melting ice sparkles down the rain chain. The back porch is clear of Friday’s slippery melt and freeze mess. XC skies, snowshoes and sleds drip dry in the garage. Snow polished dangerously on roadways two nights ago has been forgotten.
Weekend visitors have drifted through stores with clearance sales, cruised snow mobile trails closed much of an unpredictable winter, brought a much needed dinner crowd to restaurants and bars. Better to have people late in the season when businesses have been down too long.
Maybe there’s a tease of spring in the breeze. Maybe that’s a foolish dream with more windy days and possible snow predicted midweek. Still time to buy winter gear priced at fifty percent to wear during the duration. The biggest storms often come after chili dinners with friends followed by board games are not quite as fun, jigsaw puzzles fill too many evenings, and the good fireplace wood pile is low. It would be better if football hadn’t finished so early in the season. Catchers and batters camp feels disconnected from this reality. But everyone daydreams about t-shirts and sandals.
County baseball league guys hold their initial season meetings in bars as the high school kids earn their way to winter sports state competitions and those fortunate to have plans pack suitcases for a few weeks in places where palm trees offer shade at the side of a pool. With Easter early this year the little girls could be wearing winter jackets over pretty dresses and searching for eggs will definitely happen inside the house.
There’s still corn in the fields as seed catalogues fill mailboxes. It’s hard to leave the house without slipping feet into boots, jamming gloves in pockets of a warm coat and pulling on a hat. Survival habits for at least another month. The snow that is still to come will clog the driveway for a shorter misery factor. But winter has a way of staying relevant as long as it wants. Put on another pot of chili.