Anyone who enjoys the outdoors goes through it this time of year, the seemingly endless and agonizing wait for real spring weather. It'll come, of course, but never seems to arrive soon enough. The long, cold winter we're now beginning to put behind us sure didn't help.
Real spring, to me, is when our drab landscape begins to turn green. Until then, most of our state has a dirty brown appearance. Real spring is when our dreary ice-covered lakes and sloughs have open water once again. Fishermen will be working on preparing their boats for the upcoming open water season, camping gear will be thoroughly inventoried and buds will begin to grow on trees and bushes. With green comes the promise of warmer, longer days. Who is not looking forward to that?
The reality is that our lake ice is about as thick as anyone can remember and is threatening to delay my "real spring." We need some sunny, warm days to make the transformation from portable icehouse to boat. Probably a lot of those days. While the transition from winter to summer may never happen quickly enough for many of us, it is this time of year that makes us appreciate warm, sunny days more than ever. I hope that is the case.
In the coming months when I hear people complain about mosquitoes, wood ticks or hot weather, I'll ask them if they'd trade for winter instead. They won't even have to reply. Summer is a short season in North Dakota, too short to not take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy it. Virtually anything outdoors will do - fishing, camping, birdwatching.
One of the worst feelings a person can endure is when fall arrives quickly, winter jumps in and there is a realization that numerous summer activities were never achieved due to reasons that have suddenly become insignificant. Permission is not required to participate in summer. In fact, in our state, participation is required. Now is the time to make plans to take advantage of warmer days to come.
Fishermen may want to consider what new lake they'd like to try this summer. Campers perhaps should consider a destination they haven't been to previously, perhaps one of our state parks. No matter what your outdoor interest, consider adding to it this summer. When winter returns, you'll be very glad you did.
In the meantime, the wait for warmer weather continues. Each day that passes brings us closer to the spring and summer activities we have longed for all winter. Check your calendar, make your plans and let's hope the weather fully cooperates in the months ahead. It's time.