Thursday, April 9, 2009

Prairie Deadlines

It's the season of brown snow, where rivers of mud mesh with rotting ice and snow. It's a great season for anyone with a complete set of waterproof gear and those under the age of ten.

What's interesting during this season is how anyone male seems to have a fascination with storm drains. Don't ask, I don't get it. But every year finds a group of the neighborhood guys hunched over the storm drain trying to get the water to drain off the street. The kids splash in the rivers that flow in the newly created channels and the guys create more channels and monitor the drain as if by diverting their attention for even a second would cause the whole thing to clog up and we'd all drown in the backwash.

And it's not just the guys. Everyone is so desperate to hurry spring along that the other day I saw a woman attempting to use a garden rake to take down a very large snowbank.

Yes, I have seen the pictures of those of you flaunting spring tulips and crocuses. Here, spring is just a bit slower. So without a tulip in sight and nary a tree budding - that season of rebirth is upon us. The thing of it is, out here on the prairies winter loves us and right now, despite what the calendar might say, it's only offering a reflection of spring.

But when spring finally arrives it will be in a rush - one minute we will be griping about brown snow and the next we'll be rushing to get the flower beds planted. And summer - well same thing all over again. Except for winter, every season is under a tight deadline. So you'd think I'd be used to deadlines.

Despite being a child of the prairies - being used to the limits of spring, summer and fall - a deadline is a rather an intimidating thing. Maybe because I think of it rather like the end of winter. You always think you have lots of time and yet in your gut you know that one day you will wake up and the snow is gone, and the robins will be singing "times up".

And please someone tell me what is the fascination with men and storm drains?

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Teresa said...

Ah...the storm drains. A childhood memory of mine is doing just what you describe - standing out on the street and directing the path for winter to go away! My Dad even has the number of steps from a certain light post in a particular direction mapped out so he knows where to start pounding out the ice most efficiently! In fact, even on the playground I gave buckets to kids and showed students how to make a path with their boots to get the water out from under the play structure where many a child had landed bottom first in the water! It was a fun recess activity for a couple days. I think the fascination with the snow melting to water - and the need to desperately get it moving - is that we live in a climate where we really have only two seasons: winter and July! We need to gain some control over Mother Nature, after what she has dealt us for the past six months, and getting out into the milder weather is just nice too. Long live the storm drain paths! Welcome Spring!!

Ryshia Kennie said...

Two seasons - I like that winter and July! But can we just slip spring in there for a minute?

Teresa said...

Ok...but only the nice green, "flowers beginning to grow" kind of Spring. The Spring that takes place after the snow melts and we have that first really good drenching rain to get rid of the dust and dirt on the streets and sidewalks. Then Spring can begin! Yee haw!