Seasonal Shifts: Winters in Illinois

Even though I am from northern Wisconsin and should be used to the cold, there is something insidious about this Illinois winter that cuts to the bone. Maybe it's the cold, gray days, the skies that seem to always be ready to dump more snow, or the insistent biting chill of the wind as it whips across the barren corn fields.

The wind seems stronger here, sharper and more insistent, telling a different story than the wind of home. There is little shelter. There are less trees to protect your sensitive skin. "Grow a damn beard already. Wrap another scarf around your tender throat. I will get through. I will freeze your ass and numb your toes. Just give me a chance, any chance." Up north you can hide behind a tree or at least find a hill to block the growing transgressions of the wind. Here there are large trees, just less of them. A large corn crop assures that you will freeze.

Yet I suggest we hold our heads up as the white fields and streets turn to a less subtle brown when the trucks drop loads of corrosive salt. Soon the snow will melt and the winds will mellow. A green hue will conquer or tame the landscape, depending on your view. Are my words too harsh? I don't want to suggest that I think the natural world is this malicious. The seasons change, and the warm breezes and spring smells are in reserve. These will shift to the summer schedule; the mud will dry and flowers will bloom. The mosquitoes will again rival the winds in their unforgiving annoyance.


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