This morning revealed a one-eighth layer of ice on the windshield of my car, requiring about five minutes of scraping before I could head out to work. Wait a minute! I thought Spring began on Monday, What gives with the snow and ice?
If there is anything I have learned in my three years, seven months and twenty-three days since moving to Michigan it is that winter is a season to be survived. There are those hale and hearty souls that embrace the cold. They can't wait to get the parkas out of the closet and throw the boots on the cold air return. For them, a garage full of snowmobiles, a hole in the ice, and a ski rack on the roof of the car are pulse accelerants.
Not me. I've had to learn the art of looking forward to survive winter.
Here is how it works.
First, one must avoid looking forward too soon. November 1st is the earliest one can begin the anticipatory glance. About the time the last maple leaf hits the ground thoughts naturally turn to hunting season. Any early frost or chilly pre-winter morning is mitigated by thoughts of killing "the big buck." These ruminations turn bitter, though, about lunch time on November 16th when you realize you're going to have to freeze your butt off for another week before you get a shot at a doe, let alone something with antlers.
But by that time you've already started looking ahead to Thanksgiving. Football. Turkey. Football. Mashed potatoes. Football. Sweet potato pie. Football. Dessert. And, football. By the time the Lions are nearing the conclusion of their annual Thanksgiving Day Thumping, the strategists among your family are already looking forward to Christmas. (Kicked off, naturally, by the annual morning after shopping binge on black Friday.) Thoughts of sugar plums and gaily colored packages even foster a hope for snow, a white Christmas filled with family, tradition and consumerism.
For many, the post-Christmas period is the beginning of the long winter's depressive marathon. Not for me. I'm already looking forward to the playoffs. The Colts are generally in the hunt for an AFC title and a trip to the Superbowl. If they falter, as they did last year, however, I can still look forward to hating the Steelers and their fans, the combine IQ of which scarcely reaches into four digits.
If God smiles on Peyton and the boys, this anticipation will carry me all the way into the second week of February, by which time I am able to look forward to March Madness - sixty-eight teams all straining to cut down the nets and have their upraised fists featured in the final frame of "One Shining Moment." Sparty is out this year, but I am still rooting for the Butler Bulldogs.
By the time Duke (I hate them too) wins another national championship in Houston on April 4th, I should be getting the blades on the mower sharpened and raking the detritus from the lawn in anticipation of Turf Wars 2011 - The Battler of the Dog Bombs. And, with the break in the weather, I will once again be able to live in the moment and stop looking so far ahead in order to maintain my sanity.
Looking forward. Try it some time.
NOTE - No, I don't hate anybody. I was using hyperbole. Pastors aren't allowed to hate - except the Devil. And rock music. And dancing. And alcohol. And, possibly Democrats. (Again, hyperbole.)