By Dave Coulter
Groundhog Day is a couple days away and the forecast -as of today- looks mixed. It could be cloudy or sunny, so I guess we and the groundhog will just have to see what the day brings. How long will winter last? It’s been so feeble, perhaps it should be called near-winter, like near-beer.
It is January in Chicago and we’re flirting with the sixty degree mark. I know that some people around here dislike cold and snow, but these little scabs of dirty grey ice that remain on the sidewalks are just depressing. According to the Weather Service it was about a year ago when we had the Great Blizzard of Twenty-Oh-Ought-Eleven. That’s what I call it anyway. Now that was something, and I challenge anyone to claim that this tepid blah season is somehow preferable.
People should be paying less for their heat bills, so maybe that will help a bit with the Christmas bills. And maybe a mild winter will help spur the local economy in unexpected ways. Garden centers can start selling flats of marigolds and tomatoes for Easter, for example. Beyond these odd economic benefits I’m just at a loss to find much joy in this not-too-cold season.
Apart from the local malcontents that dislike winter (so why are they living here?) I think that we all need to be hardened off a little before spring comes. I’m mis-using this garden term a bit but who isn’t happier when spring arrives after a nasty winter? A proper Midwestern winter forces us all to grow extra protective layers both literal and metaphoric.
A non-stop November does no one any good. So on Thursday I’m hoping the groundhog forecasts cold and snow for this waning winter of ours. We didn’t get snow for Christmas, but maybe our odds will be better for Valentine’s Day when white is the new red.