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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: May 5, 2022

Jane Thibodeau Martin

Dear Mother Nature

**********

I try not to whine about the weather. If you don't like the weather, be patient, it will change. Only it isn't. And I am not the only one getting impatient ?? just listen the next time you are out and about, everyone has spring fever. (It is fun to have something you can commiserate about with ANYONE, regardless of political affiliations, isn't it?)

Last Wednesday I got up at 4:45 a.m. to go walk the shelter dogs. A quick check revealed the wind chill was 17 degrees. On April 27th. And most of the last two weeks have been like this ?? cold, with a very sharp wind; unless it was also raining or worse yet, snowing. We've had white-covered ground at least twice recently here in Central Wisconsin, irritating me to an extreme. The frost has left the ground, so footing is mushy and mucky. I despite snow-covered mud.

Dear Mother Nature: I am sure you know what you are doing, but could you speed it up a little? Yesterday, as I found a sunny spot in front of a big window for my yoga practice, I noticed a Clouded Sulphur butterfly. The poor thing was clinging to the exterior window glass (how, I have no idea ?? yes my windows are dirty, but still!) It was being buffeted by a 15 to 20 mile an hour ice cold wind. I had walked the woods and fields that morning after sunup and there is not even a single pioneer flower on a south facing bank to be found. No trilliums, no snowdrops, the cowslip plants haven't even emerged yet, much less budded. The only exception is pussy willows, my favorite shrub. And I'd never thought of them as flowers.

But pussy willow's furry catkins are flowers. The catkins have no petals, instead, the dense covering of "hair" protects the reproductive structure beneath from the cold. Once I looked into this plant, I was amazed. Interestingly, some of the plants are male, and some are female. Only female plants produce the fluffy fuzz full of tiny seeds (that sort of resemble fussy caterpillars) later in the spring. I had noticed this difference plant to plant, and thought maybe I was looking at different species side by side in the same roadside ditch. Thank goodness for pussy willows, one of the few plants that seems to tolerate a maddeningly slow spring like we are suffering through.

With this weather pattern seemingly stuck on "repeat," pussy willow shrubs are the only "flower" I anticipate seeing for the next few weeks. Why on earth that butterfly chose to crawl out of their chrysalis now, I have no idea. It would have been better off hunkering down for a while, like I felt like doing when the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m.

As it is, every morning I check the weather, make a face, and pull on my heavy boots, my big squall jacket, and winter mittens. I feel indignant about this need given that May has arrived. I have a lengthy list of "getting ready for spring" chores that await outside, but I refuse to start when it is this miserably cold and muddy. The Martin brothers maple syrup project this spring was also seriously hampered by the run's "stop and start,' with more stop than start weather.

Maybe it's my faulty memory, but the last few years it seems we've been given a day or two of "teaser" nicer weather every week at this time of year to keep us hopeful. This year, I only remember one of those days ?? while we had sun a few others, the icy strong wind remained. I spent the nice day unwrapping the trunks of the young trees in our yard and cutting back our raspberry bushes; finding deep joy in crossing at least a few things off the list.

Happy Mother's day, Mother Nature. You aggravate me to no end at times, but yours is the wisdom of eons, mine is the result of a "blink of an eye" in time. You will arrive in your own good time, my impatience is of no consequence whatsoever.

Happy birthday in heaven on May 4 to three men I admired: my father David Thibodeau, his life-long friend Sam May, and my Uncle Bill Lefebvre. All fathers and veterans, all with strong ties to Peshtigo. Hoping they can share a beer in heaven today. And happy birthday (and mother's day!) on May 8th to my Mom. I won't dare aggravate her by telling you how old she is, but we may need a burn permit for my own May birthday cake, so there's a pretty good hint for you on how old she will be!

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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