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Lileks: Spring is just around the corner, right?

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS
  • Star Tribune
  • February 15, 2014 - 5:39 PM

Like many of you, I had my face in a bowl of cow manure this weekend. The manure had been converted to compost — cowpost, they call it! — and as I took a deep sniff and agreed you could hardly detect any bovine-plop whatsoever, I thought: Desperate for the scents of spring planting? It’s possible.

It was at the Home & Patio Show, one of those events that help you pretend we’re at the beginning of the end of the middle of the winter. Many portends of springtime activity. Flower bulbs, or, as gardeners know them, expensive winter squirrel-feeding nodules. Pruning shears that would cut through redwood trunks with a slight squeeze. Outdoor fire pits designed for roasting a boar the size of a Mini Cooper.

You imagine the warm times to come and think soon, very soon — but you walk outside, a Ginsu wind goes down your collar, and you feel like someone who’s been paying a mortgage for 10 years and made a $100 dent in the principal.

What heresy is this, you ask? Minnesotans love winter. Yes. That’s why there’s an Ice & Grit Show at the Convention Center in July, because people can’t wait. Attractive new colors for that wall you’ll be staring at for three months with an empty gaze of existential despair! Smelling-salt kits for the day when the heating bill arrives! No.

Then I realized something. While looking at a newfangled irrigation system that actually waters the grass instead of throwing a useless stream 6 feet from the nozzle, I remembered the last summer’s attempts to coax grass from a stubborn spot.

I know what you’re thinking: Well, Mr. Columnist, most people have trouble with that long, flat, gray area between the lawn and the boulevard. No, it’s a shady spot. The only way to get grass to grow would be to pave it over with bricks, and then grass would come up between the cracks.

The heartache will begin anew all too soon. For now the area wears a perfect coat of spotless white. The lawn’s never looked better. The patio’s cracked bricks? Buried. The water feature, which had the motor go out in a haze of smoke last year, leading to the unusual sight of a water fountain that was smoking? Just a lump in the back yard.

All of a sudden winter looks like an old friend. What’s your rush? Stay as long as you like.

 

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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