In the eyes of this writer, the insanely mild winter Chicagoland is in the midst of has been a blessing. Sure, my daughter has only gotten to use the sled Santa brought her 2 or 3 times, and that is a bummer, but, as someone who has to both drive a car and clean up an office building on a daily basis, not having snow on the ground on February 2nd is close to euphoric. Typically blanketed in the white scourge, the grass, in it’s browning state of hibernation, greets me each morning. The soil, not really thawed as it hasn’t really had a chance to freeze, is wet with melt from snowplowed remnants of the only sizable snowfall that has troubled us so far. Is the grass confused? Does it know it isn’t time to start photosynthesizing and shit yet, or if we keep getting sunny temps in the 40s, will it ditch it’s lifeless brown for greens? Fuck if I care. Dead, brown, muddy grass looks far more appealing than even the slightest dusting of snow, let alone the half frozen piles of shoveled and plowed snow mixed with parking lot debris and rock salt or the Pollock-esque scribbles of dog piss in the snow.
The local ducks and the “why the fuck are these still a protected species” Canadian geese seem confused. I’ve seen the geese flying in formation in every which direction, not just the standard “south.” The ducks are still flocking around our apartment complex ponds, parking themselves in the areas where the ice has receded from the shore, perhaps clinging to the same optimistic life preserver that I am…that, not only maybe the rest of the “winter” will be as easy as these first 3 months have been, but also that, either way, spring is right around the fucking corner you guys.
I put days like the past few, where the temperatures reached a balmy 50, to good use. I stood outside in the sun and pictured it all. Robins and cardinals flitting about. Flowers and dandelions. Budding leaves, the greenest greens. The smell of cut grass, the sounds of meat searing over open flame and beer bottles clinking in a cooler. I just closed my eyes and pretended it was all waiting for me. Pretended that when I clocked out at 5 and headed to my car that it wouldn’t already be dark. That I could pull out of the parking lot with my windows down and Saves The Day on loud enough to drown out my own inability to match the higher parts of Chris Conley’s range, and that I would get home and the wife and I could take the daughter to the park.
It ain’t much, but in the event we are paying Mother Nature back-taxes for the evasion that has been ongoing since November, I will stand outside in 8 or 10 or 12 inches of interminable snow, soaked to my skin and chilled to the bone, shoveling and salting, thinking back to the beginning of February when I sat outside work in only a sweatshirt reading a book on my lunchbreak.