Welcome to the Kenai Peninsula, where spring is the nicest part of winter.
When I say that, I don’t mean that I’m happy that winter is almost over. (News flash, no matter what that groundhog in Pennsylvania said at the beginning of February, we’ve got at least a month to go.)
What I mean is that typically, the weather this time of year is great for getting out to enjoy all the snow that’s been accumulating since the fall.
There, I’ve said it. I like winter, and wouldn’t mind if it hung around for a few more weeks.
Many folks around here, it seems, disagree with me. Lots of people tell me that we “deserve” a pleasant spring and summer after a couple of long winters and cool, wet summers. Ask someone around here about the weather these days, and they’ll tell you that they are sick and tired of winter.
I’m sympathetic to all those high school kids who are practicing outdoor sports in school gyms and hallways across the peninsula. I always chuckle when I see in school announcements that track or soccer practice is starting up, then look out the window to watch the snowflakes gently falling.
And that groundhog I mentioned? A prosecutor actually filed criminal charges against Punxsutawney Phil when snow was forecast in Ohio last week. I know people are grumpy right now, but filing charges against a rodent? That’s some serious winter grumpiness.
I guess I have a skewed point of view on the topic. Sure, those summer activities are more pleasant when experienced with mild temperatures and sunny skies. But I also tend to agree with a local avid winter recreationist who once told the Clarion that when you start getting into winter fun, the season doesn’t last long enough.
In a past job with an outdoor gear retailer, I used to sell customers on the phrase “There’s no bad weather, just bad gear.” It’s a great sales pitch, and I guess I just took to heart — maybe a little too much.
That’s not to say I’m completely crazy. For example, on those days where you can’t tell if it’s fresh snow falling from the sky or old snow being blown around from the ground because the wind is howling, as it was last week, I opt to stay inside. I’m a big fan of snuggling by the fireplace with a loved one, or curling up with a book.
But by the time we get into late March in these parts, there are just as many bluebird days. The sun is out longer. Every new dusting of snow dresses up well-groomed trails, making for great skiing. The bugs aren’t out yet. What’s not to love? It’s better than trying to fish in a July rainstorm, wouldn’t you say?
I know, to a lot of people, every time we have to brush snow off the windshield in the morning, it feels like Groundhog Day all over again. I wonder where all that “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” enthusiasm disappeared to?
Let’s face it, winter here starts in October and runs clear through to May. With as cold as it’s been getting at night, and as hard as the ground must’ve frozen last fall, all that snow isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
So, we can be like the groundhog, who turns around and goes back to sleep in his den after making his prediction. But I find that embracing the season — and the weather that comes with it, to be a better approach. When life gives you snow, go skiing.
Clarion editor Will Morrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.