The tide has been turned! Victory is ours! Winter is on the way out.
Oh, you say, this must be that fake news everyone's talking about. What's your source? One of those questionable websites like, oh, seriouslytrustus.com run by the Russian intelligence service?
Let's go to their headquarters and listen in:
Ivan! This is Sergei. What is it you say? Yes, our names are clichés. We are secret news operation is why. We have orders. Please to be with the hacking of the mind of Minnesota. Produce bolshoi lies of weather story and post on internet. Tell them winter, she is over. We will destroy confidence in their National Weather Service. Now join with me in throaty chuckle of evil.
Yeah, that's it exactly. I'm not all that frightened by Russian-inspired fake news; Putin gotta Pute, as the saying goes.
But it's true. Winter is doomed. I realized this the moment I saw these words on the calendar last Wednesday:
Reading that felt like someone had laid a cold brick on the heart. The previous weekend my mobile phone weather apps couldn't display the correct temps right away because they needed to download additional negative numbers. I tweeted out a screen shot of a forecast that said minus-47, and noted that, technically, it was still fall.
Don't we don't get credit for time served? Anyway, the proof that winter is waning can be found in the daily sunset time. Ever since the height of summer, it's been nipping out of work earlier and earlier. Then came the winter solstice and the days began to lengthen.
Today, for example, is 23 seconds longer than yesterday.
Don't tell me you didn't notice. Don't tell me you didn't feel a certain burst of energy, because you did. Your body, finely tuned to the movement of the planet through millions of years of evolution, realized there was incrementally more sun than yesterday, and you wanted to rearrange the spice rack.
(Of course this was confusing to Neanderthals, who stared at the cave wall in confusion, not knowing what cloves were, but we're advanced enough to understand this change, and take advantage of it.)
Tomorrow will be 32 seconds longer than today. So, here are a few suggestions of what you can do with that time.
Check the expiration date on the milk. That date is there for a reason. Milk can turn on you in a heartbeat. I just checked the milk, and it said DEC 28 12-22, which is either a date and some strange code or a Bible verse. It's possible that one of the apocryphal books included Decaronomies, and chapter 28, verses 12-22 concern the parable of the man who had a lousy breakfast:
"And so it came to pass that Jehosalophat, son of Todd of the house of Bar-Bisol, did pour the milk unto the grains, but he had heeded not the prophet who said, 'Woe, woe unto those who heed not the date that has been set before you,' and the milk flowed not like it had for his fathers, but came upon the flakes in clumps.
"And he rent his garment, and gnashed his teeth, for there was naught but soy milk in the house, and that was of his daughter, who had entered into a covenant with the Vegans."
There's probably a reason that one didn't make the final edit.
Start an exercise routine. Use the extra time to run in place, vigorously punching at imagined opponents like Rocky hitting frozen sides of beef in the movie. Remember that every day gets longer, so stick with it! By July you will be running and punching for eight hours and 32 minutes.
Read "Moby-Dick." Mostly, so you can say, "I'm reading 'Moby-Dick,' and I don't get why people think it's a chore." By next week you should be reading it in 45-second chunks, and will thrill to passages such as, "It is not, perhaps, because the unctuous ceremony of which the creature, of the seas, did behoove itself like a sea creature, which some say, did have among its kind, the tolerable Providence we can, in such times, admit?"
You will give up around March, having read only 12 pages, but that's more than most.
Refuse to take your chip card out of the reader. Let it beep for 23 seconds. Look around and smile and say, "Did we ask for this? A nasty electronic sound that made us feel like we'd done something wrong? Don't we all hate it? Don't we all realize they could have made it chime like a bell, but chose a sound more appropriate to super-amplified mosquito flatulence?"
Teach yourself foreign numbers by counting all the extra seconds. We suggest Finnish:
"Ske, dopleske, trag, fiisjen, protgrie, kikkensjel, seven, oogten," and so on. If you combine loud Finnish number recitation with running in place and punching imaginary meat, you will definitely get something you didn't have before.
Or just go about your day as always until you note the first true sign that winter's beat: You're not driving home from work in the dark.
Your heart will soar and you'll think of spring. Of tulips. Of green grass. Long, warm nights. The song of the cicada. The State Fair!
Right, the State Fair, you'll think as you watch the 6 p.m. sunset. Spring must be coming. That means summer's almost over.