Hey, Minnesota: Why do we live here?

I’m looking at the same thing out my back deck that a lot of you are: A foot and a half of fresh hell snow covering my plans for gardens and landscaping that will go unrealized for a 28th consecutive year.

Not that the seed catalogs aren’t being used for their intended purpose at the moment: helping me survive another Minnesota winter.

I posted a picture of my grill on Facebook late last week. My out-of-town friends said they wish they “had snow like that.” Around the country, people are jealous of what is presently making us miserable.

Out the front window, a mailbox is about to give way to the constant battering of plows, which will present a problem for the delivery of the annual letter from the post office threatening to suspend mail delivery if I don’t make it June-like out there for the carrier, who gets to ride around in a truck.

The BlogDog’s look is withering, a canine guilt drip for passing on the daily pre-dawn walk after a look at the temperature. Suck it up, dog. The rest of us have to. And don’t think I haven’t noticed you’re peeing on the deck instead of the spot I snowblowed — how stupid do we look snowblowing the backyard? — for you.

Why are we still here?

I was invited to consider the question today and recalled a love letter I wrote to Minnesota in July 2013, when I apologized for my moments of doubts. Moments just like this.

And people have asked me if I’m staying in Minnesota when I retire. Of course, I am, the alternative being residency in a state of crooks, crackpots, and perverts. If normalcy should ever grip a southern state, maybe I’ll leave. But I’m not making plans.

Winter is our meteorological purification. If we didn’t have it, we might be more like them.

So I squint as I look in the backyard. I can almost see July. And it is good.

(Reprinted from July 6, 2013)

Photo: Bob Collins

Dear Minnesota:

I’m sorry. I got angry with you and, really, it was my fault. For someone who spends most of the winter posting about embracing you, I turned away from you when you needed me most — spring. We all have our little tantrums and when I said in April that I’d one day “leave this godforsaken place where it snows in May,” it was my fault.

I have a friend or two who put their home up for sale on the spur of the moment around that time and they’ve left town and headed south. You know, where it’s warmer and sunnier and all. I see the humidity is 74 percent there today. I almost caved in to my pals from Phoenix who reminded me all during February that it was sweater season — the temperature might drop to 75 overnight. It’s 91 there at 9 a.m. But it’s a dry hell, you know.

Even one of my own grown kids is talking about leaving and I’ve debated whether it’s time to have “the talk” — the one where I suggest before he go, he take a long look at what he’d be leaving.

He’d leave something like this morning. I get up at sunrise on weekends in your summer. I don’t want to waste a moment. The paper was late, so it was just me, the Blog Dog, a good aviation magazine, my friends on Twitter and Facebook.

And there I sat with them and you for more than four hours, occasionally watching the ducks fly over, listening to the birds, and not hearing any neighbors in my suburb. They’ve probably left for their lake places, in search of you, apparently.

You test our faith at times and sometimes we are weak. But you reward us on Saturday mornings in July and we renew our commitment to be strong with each breeze you send that says, “hey, I’m up here.”

Bring the heat, bring the storms, and wind, and then snow if you must. Just give us a July Saturday morning like one you gave us this year, just once in awhile.

We can’t quit you. Don’t ever change.