By Mark Mathis
Most places are lucky enough to get four seasons, here in Newaygo County we are blessed with five. I figure if Taco Bell can have four meals, we can have a 5th season.
The season is unofficial and runs roughly in the days between the Dam to Dam Fishing Tournament and Easter. I call the season “where did spring go?”. It’s also called “ugh” and “you’ve got to be kidding me.”
This year the season began on a couple glorious days in late February where the thermometer hit 60 degrees. I stored my winter coats and snow shovels. The snow melt exposed a winter worth of dog poop, so I picked that up too. Neighbors came back outside and a walk down the road became a strolling neighborhood visit once again. All was right in the world.
The ice on the lake melted. The snow disappeared. The inch of silt covering my garage floor was cleaned up. It seemed so strange to say goodbye to winter in February, but I managed to do it. Hello spring!
Then Newaygo county’s 5th season hit. One of the “benefits” of residing on the 43rd parallel and within the Great Lakes region is a slightly longer “opportunity” for cold weather. One of the drawbacks is that the annual spring preview hits long before winter really moves out for good.
I’m amongst the happiest to see that first snowfall coating the trees. It’s a near celebration when the ice is thick enough on the lake to venture out away from the shore. It’s weeks worth of hot chocolate, fires, playing in the snow, and great photos. A few months later it seems that everything has turned gray and sloppy. The fireplace is full of ash, I’m out of cocoa, and even the best photographic filter doesn’t turn grey into sunshine.
Once that first taste of spring hits I don’t know too many people that are stoked to go out on the lake in March and no one seems to be talking about snowmobile trips anymore. This is a sure sign that we’ve hit season number five.
This 5th season is marked by dilemmas:
I lost a glove. Do I simply live with one cold hand? There is nothing more disheartening than navigating aisles of beach chairs and swimsuits at Costco. An employee was kind enough to note that their gloves have been gone for two months. I think that national chains base their inventory decisions on the weather in Nashville, TN. Luckily, I found the glove in the nearly invisible void under my car seat.
We got a run of snow on four consecutive days. In the winter this breeds excitement at our house about a potential snow day. I know it’s getting late in the winter when my daughter just assumes there will be school the next day… two inches of snow doesn’t even raise an eyebrow in the where did spring go season.
Is it worth getting the snow shovel back out? Seems like no matter how much I drive over the new snow it will melt in a week or two, right? Not wanting to get stuck in my own driveway I got the shovels (and my coat) back out of storage. One of these years we will get a Jeep and give up shoveling for the entire year.
My car is begging for more cleaning than the Wesco squeegee can provide. The seven day forecast is no friend for my car. Hard to bring myself to clean it up when the weather ball is blinking blue (“Weather ball red, warmer ahead. Weather ball blue cooler in view. Weather ball blinking bright, precipitation is in sight.”). In season #5, I simply settle for clean windows.
On the good side the days are getting a lot longer. Daylight savings time has hit. The Tigers are in the middle of spring training, all the new dog poop rests under a new blanket of snow, and Easter is truly just around the corner. Time for another 60 degree day to convince me that the “come on already” season is leaving for good!
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