No one saw it coming.
In the first week of March, the whole state of Minnesota was covered in 2-3 feet of snow. The North Shore trail groomers had their big rigs out and the trails were in great shape. Skiers were blogging about the amazing conditions. I had just completed a skijor circuit. I had pulled out the no-wax skis and was ready for a great last month on the trails.
Then the temperatures turned warm. Too warm. For three days and nights, it rained and rained and never got below freezing. The snowpack pulled out of the woods like a windowshade snapping up.
I was not ready for this. It's like my child left on a trip and I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. It's like you're just getting comfy in your seat in the movie theater and the projector blows up. It's like burning the brownies so badly even the dog won't eat them.
The North Shore waterfalls, normally fed by melting snow until early May, have already done their thing. Even big Lake Superior isn't delivering its load of ice to our shore: our beach is just sand and waves now.
It's sad. Really sad.
Carpe diem, they say. Did I ski enough in February? That is, did I ski every chance I had? No.
We live here in the North so we can take advantage of the seasons. We swim when the water is warm. We hike when the trails are dry. And we ski when there's snow on the ground. Of all those seasonal cycles, winter and cross country skiing are my favorites, and the most essential to my sense of well-being. To have that winter ski season yanked away so quickly and dramatically is leaving me wounded and scarred.
Sure, it will snow again. Sometime. And sure, we can start hiking soon. But I need to wallow in this a week or so longer. Get me into April, when skiing is a luxury never to be taken for granted. But a snowless, ski-less March? I feel a little like Luke Skywalker in Cloud City, clinging to a post with his one good hand, yelling at his new father Darth Vader, "That's not true. That's impossible!"
Search your feelings, you know it to be true.