(photo: Sonja Wolter)
Spring is reclining upon Northern Minnesota with unaccustomed ease. Normally, our Spring takes months to really settle in; indeed, for weeks, we get buffeted about by a variety of snowstorms, mudslides, and occasional peeps of sun, which has us all wearing swimsuits accessorized by puddle boots and ear muffs. But this year, I can hardly believe we had thirteen inches of snow fall upon us a mere few weeks ago, so completely has it all disappeared.
(Thus was our tire swing during Easter week)
In fact, we’ve had such a stretch of warm, sunny days that I have had to hiss, throw up my cape for protection, and retire to my casket early some days. As a pasty heat-curmudgeon, I’m already missing the snow and would welcome an announcement that another three inches might fall tomorrow.
At this news, some people would be hollering “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” like Marlon Brando chewing up the scenery with his “STELLLLLLLA” in Streetcar Named Desire. I, however, am perverse about snow and, at the prediction of an imminent blizzard, would find my feet tapping out a happy syncopation of “It’s okay/I don’t care/I’ll just wear/fleece underwear.”
Yup, some of us just like snow. Compared to my pal, Sonja, though, I am a snow dilettante. A Minnesota native, Sonja has taken her Cold Fever to new lows: she’s done several tours at posts in Antarctica, and last year she was part of a four-woman crew stationed, quite remotely, in Greenland.
While such isolated polar adventures afford endless chances for wacky and creative entertainment, such as using welding equipment to make each other Christmas gifts out of refuse, there is actual serious purpose to Sonja’s sojourns. In Greenland, she did science stuff, and that’s as deep as I’m going to go because typing “science stuff” pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the natural world. That, and I know herpetologists study snakes (shout out to Miss Frizzle and her Magic School Bus!). But that’s all I’ve got.
When in Greenland, Sonja and her cohorts took measurements of a variety of things, from their tempers to snowpack, as is evidenced in this photo of Sonja measuring snow depth in what they call the “bamboo forest”:
By the way, she’s a babe, inn’t she? She can “measure my pack” any day.
So here I sit, safely watching the springtime leeks sprinkle across the muddy trails, cursing the deer for eating our tulips, mourning the season finale of 30 ROCK, while Sonja, well, she puts my snowcrazies to shame. Back in the States, she readjusts to the hectic life of traffic and reality tv, with her frostbitten nose and amputated toes, plotting her next sojourn to
a remote outpost,
someplace colder than the Jimmy Hoffa case,
a place where the pressures of the real world recede into continual darkness
a quiet spot free of the overwhelmage of humanity.
Sounds like Alec Baldwin’s next cocktail party, eh?