Winter, on location

  • Updated: December 21, 2013 - 4:28 PM

Love it? Hate it? We do, too. A collection of seasonal essays by members of the Star Tribune Editorial Board.

The truth is I hate winter. I really do. Although …

 

I love the bleakness of a smokestack against a milky sky. I can’t explain it. Go figure.

I hate the coldest days, but often they’re sunny, and even under blue skies snow can float in the air like glitter.

I love watching heavy snow slice past streetlights. When I was a kid, I’d view this from flat on my back outdoors, the only sounds my breath and the lightness of a thousand landings.

I love the tire tracks and footpaths that form after an accumulation. These are human patterns, meandering across official lanes and shortest-distance logic — fallibility.

I loved the look of snowmobiles before they were sleek, their sputtering gasoline auras associated, in my mind, with the pleasure derived. Isn’t that sick? And yet.

I’m not a pagan, but I love the solstice: the urgency of the shortest day and the slumber of the longest night.

I’m not a member of any faith, but I love the quiet community of a midnight mass, the minor keys of reverence sustained among the walls of old churches.

For all the categories we draw in our lives, here’s one we may have given little thought to: We live within the one-third of the Earth’s land mass that receives seasonal snow cover. We’re not among the one in three people globally who are affected by water scarcity.

The truth is for every winter annoyance there’s a wonder, but precious little allowance for wonderment. Now that’s a problem for all seasons, and I hate it. I really do.

David Banks, assistant commentary editor

 

Water produced democracy in the Netherlands, my brother-in-law explained when I visited my husband’s homeland.

 

Farmers centuries ago learned that they had little ability individually to move excess water off their land. But by coming together to build windmills, canals and dikes, they could add to their own drainage efforts and turn wetlands into tillable acres in an entire region.

The Dutch democracy that ensued bore bountiful fruit. The Netherlands ranks second only to the United States in the economic value of its agricultural exports.

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