Life In The Mitten–Spring Thaw

The mercury has peeked its head up above the 50 degree mark and The Mitten is in full celebration mode! I’m pretty sure the whoops and hollers could be heard in the Florida Keys.

It’s a wonderful thing, to witness the awakening that happens here when spring starts to peek out from behind winter’s dreary curtain. It reminds me of the reasons I live here. In February, I begin to question my sanity…it’s crazy to live in a place that is so cold and dark. But, when that first warm up happens I remember. I remember what a wonderful place the mitten is.

This was the week; the week that the mitten came to life again. It happens every year, but this winter was so hard and cold that it feels like a hard won victory. It’s exciting to see the signs of spring, and I don’t mean trees budding and flowers blooming. There are some very distinct things that begin to happen here when the temperature rises out of the freezing range.

Here are some of the things I am talking about:

We go outside without a coat

No coat, no gloves, no hat and probably no socks. It is so exciting to finally just go outside. it’s not uncommon to see braver souls in shorts and flip flops. Bundling up like you are heading out on an Everest expedition gets old. Going coat-less almost feels like being weightless. It’s a glorious thing.

We breathe deeper

When the weather warms up, mitten dwellers go outside and just breathe. Deep, lung filling breaths of beautiful fresh air. In winter, inside air gets stale and cold outside air is best inhaled in shallower breaths. When it’s 10 degrees out, a lung full of fresh air is painful! It’s not uncommon to see people here just standing outside to feel the sun and breathe the air. It feels like we’ve been raised from the dead.

We drive with our windows down

Yeah, the air is still cold at 55 mph, but we are so excited about spring we don’t care; we just crank up the heat. One of the surest signs that spring is on it’s way to West Michigan is all the cars driving around with their windows open.

We smile more

What can I say? We’re happy. We have survived another winter and we feel hopeful. We are friendlier, we say things like “Isn’t it beautiful?” and “Enjoy the sunshine!” We are just happy to be alive and warm.

And finally, We remember what a great place The Mitten is

We briefly forget what a great place this is during the winter, but we are quick to recall it’s beauty once we can feel the warmth of the sun again. We begin dreaming of warm summer nights and trips to the lake. Camping and fishing trips are planned. We start looking for new recipes for the grill. We go buy a new swimming suit. We remember.

Yes, this is the time of year that I and my fellow Mitten dwellers remember why we love it here…and why wouldn’t we?


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