Time for Moore: Whiplash!
Whiplash isn’t reserved for the aftermath of car accidents. What else could better describe the sensation of wearing boots one day and sandals the next?
You need neither me nor Bob Dylan to remind you of this, but as the renowned Minnesota bard famously crooned, “I feel a change comin’ on.”
Consider: As recently as April 1, eight inches of fresh snow demanded removal from my driveway. Bitter winds blew, the sky was a stormy gray, and it was far more comfortable to huddle by the fireplace nestled under a knitted throw while wearing wool socks and a bulky sweater than it was to entertain the idea of taking a long walk.
Leap ahead — not far, just a week — and our corner of the world looks entirely different.
Then: Not a square foot of bare ground, brown OR green, was visible.
Now: All but the highest, most stubborn snow mounds have disappeared. The sun is high in a clear blue sky, a light breeze teases my bare feet, birds sing and 70 degrees feels almost too warm. (Almost.) Tulips and buds are emerging due to Mother Nature’s astounding magic. I should apply sunscreen, not mittens.
To paraphrase Hibbing native Dylan once again, it’s been a long time a comin’ — about five months, to be specific.
Whiplash isn’t reserved for the aftermath of car accidents. What else could better describe the sensation of wearing boots one day and sandals the next? It’s hard to kick the habit of pulling your heavy coat from the closet; raise your hand if you haven’t done that at least once in the past few days only to feel like an idiot the second you step outside.
And just like that, it seems spring really is here. (Don’t worry; we haven’t stashed our snow shovels yet so you can’t blame us if another snow squall lies ahead.)
Undeniably, the sudden change is startling. It takes me far longer than it does every teenager in the universe to remember where my warm weather duds are buried. Time to remove the snow tires and ditch the hot chocolate in favor of iced tea and iced coffee.
Change is inevitable but not always easy. We can anticipate changes, plan for them, save for them, pray for them, deny them, but once they’re upon us, we sometimes still feel like we’ve experienced an unannounced Ice Bucket Challenge.
Just when you’ve figured out your infant’s sleep schedule, they morph into a walking, talking toddler who demands entirely different things of you than that sweet, slumbering baby. Some seemingly rock-solid marriages end, leaving partners and their friends and family alike feeling shocked and bereft. Parents and grandparents who have “always” been there for advice, sugar cookies and holidays pass on.
That work friend with whom you’ve navigated years’ worth of Mondays unexpectedly retires and moves to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Your reliably healthy uncle visits the doctor about his persistent cough and exits the clinic with a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer. New grandchildren stop you in your tracks, and the quiet retirement you envisioned becomes intertwined with daycare duties to spell your adult kids.
Humans get used to lots of different conditions — even five-month-long winters and 90-plus cumulative inches of snow. Though we may pine for the sun, it can catch us scrambling to locate our sunglasses.
Adaptation and resilience are skills that stand us in good stead. Winter won’t be here “always,” but neither will spring, summer or fall.
Heed the words of 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns in his 1785 poem “To a Mouse:” “The best-laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry.”
What can we do but acknowledge the changes, strive to adjust to them and get outside to enjoy the sun while we can because — have you seen the weekend forecast?