Geese

The geese are coming back.  I’ve been hearing them for the last few nights, and the first time I did, I actually stopped what I was doing and listened, trying to figure out what the noise was.  They’re much the same as they were last fall: same v flight formation; same grey-bodies-black-heads; the leader still opens her mouth against the high altitude rush and quacks the same harsh quack; and the rest of the gaggle, eager to chime in, answer her with equal harshness.  It reminds me of field trips, when my kindergarten teacher would ask my class (jokingly, I suspect), if we were all present.  “I’m here!”  We’d shout from our respective bus seats, loudly and unhelpfully.

Truthfully, even as I type, I’m not sure what the geese have to do with the rest of this post.  I suspect, however, that I’ll work them in somehow.

It’s been a hard week.  Actually, one of the hardest weeks of the entire school year.  And surprisingly, not because of papers or exams or presentations.  But because of student government.  I’m going to try to say this vaguely, so bear with me: I’m currently Election Commissioner for the spring student government (MCSA) elections.  What that means is that I organize “get out the vote” events, manage electronic voting, and make sure that all candidates are following the guidelines for legal campaigning.  It sounds pretty straightforward, and usually it is, but this week there were two major incidents that I had to deal with, and both became heated and ugly and personal.

One of the incidents, particularly, led to me taking a rather unpopular stance based on what I felt was fair.  That garnered a few phone calls, a few Facebook messages, and a lot of emails which involved calling me power-hungry and MCSA a “diseased organization.”  And for the first time in my entire life, I had to wake up and go to campus feeling like the entire student body hated my guts.

It all worked out in the end, thankfully.

But I can’t help feeling that this week has been a trial.  I’m not sure if I passed or failed.  I’m just glad it’s over.

As for the geese, well, perhaps they were chased out of the tropics by Spring Breakers.  Perhaps they ran out of Noxema and decided to retreat from the sun for a while.  Perhaps they’re heralds of the Spring, bringing her to Morris just when we were starting to think she would never come.

Perhaps, like other animals, they’re merely following their instincts.  Listening to that tiny twinge near their left ankles that tells them when it’s time to move on.  Perhaps they’re simply doing what they have to do, regardless of personal (animal?) desires.

There!  I told you I would do it.

First Saturday

Today I awoke, burritoed in a mass of winter blankets, to Spring.  Not just the vacation, but to the season itself.  It was mid 50s and sunny, and when I opened my window, two bluebirds dropped a crown of daisies onto my head.

Putting the daisies in water, I proceeded to have a quiet, albeit wonderful Saturday afternoon.

I’m taking care of the neighbor’s Beagle while they’re on vacation.  He’s fat and grey and quite deaf.  But he’s a solid little fellow who wags while you’re getting his lunch, and barks good-naturedly when he wants to come back in from outside.  He seemed confused, at first, that the tall neighbor girl was refilling his water bowl, but after I spent the better part of a half hour petting him and throwing his tennis ball, he put his nose on his paws and went to sleep.

At one, Mom and I went to pick up my shiny, glorious Christmas iPhone.  I love the thing already, although I’m not used to having a nice phone; it’s terrifying to think that if I drop it, the whole screen will shatter.  Additionally, though I’ve always found my fingers rather average-sized, they feel enormous when I try to type out texts and emails. I’m hope I’ll get used to these things soon.

Now that it’s gotten dark and cold again,  I’ve retreated to my bed, where I’m pretending to do Statistics and waiting for SNL to come on.

Winter

Winter has finally settled over Minnesota, as we knew it eventually would.

All talk of a mild winter, or even of a winter delayed until April, has dispersed in a wind so cold, your very eyeballs seem to rattle in their sockets.  Your ears, long past turning red, become identical pieces of plastic, which can be broken off with the mere touch of a mittened hand.

Walking to class is excruciating.  You want nothing more than to run, to escape the cold and the wind and the pelting snow, but it’s too late; the minute you stepped outside your blood began to thicken, and now it seems to swell in your veins until every step is difficult, every thought of running impossible.

Figures brush past you on the sidewalk, people rendered unrecognizable by blowing drifts that sift around them in sinister whirlwinds.  These figures move from building to building clutching at books and at whipping scarves.  Once inside, their coats melt off to reveal layers of sweaters and jeans and heavy socks.  They’re Minnesota stock, and although winter never ceases to be a shock when it arrives full fury, they know how to dress for it when it comes.  Their ancestors braved German and Swedish winters huddled around wood fires with piles of darning and tin pots of coffee.  We can only expect to do the same, relying on textbooks and Red Bull to fuel our survival.

We are the newest generation to build a living on the prairie, and we feel its wind as much as anyone.  It revolves our turbines and makes ruddy our cheeks.  But we learn, nonetheless, and we will be here when spring comes.  Although Mother Nature perhaps cannot see that there our people beneath the layers of wool coat and polyester sweatshirt, she will halt her wrath in a few months to check that we are safe.  Even she has grown fond of watching us tramp the grasses of the Pomme de Terre, for every so often, one of us will stop to take a closer look.

It is for that reason that Spring will surely come, sometime.