Sometimes, the mind’s eye takes a snapshot that captures a mood, an event or even the weather. This winter, and it still feels like winter, has been way too cold too long, even for Wisconsin.
Driving home through an older neighborhood last weekend, I saw a family gathered in front of their home. The air was damp and chilly, and the sky hung like a permanent grey tarp above their heads. The family stood in the semi-shelter of the wide porch that fronted their two-story house, a narrow strip of grass in front of it. In the instant I drove by, they looked like statues without expression, a portrait of flannel shirts, hats and jackets. One or two had a can of beer in their hands as they stared ahead. A pink plastic trike sat untouched on the sidewalk. And there on the grass was the focus of the family’s stoney attention. A small black Weber grill sat on its tripod in cold insolence. There would be not brats today. No burgers. No happy children playing barefoot under a sunny sky. No T-shirts and shorts and laughter spilling off the porch. This was Wisconsin and they’d have to wait like the rest of us for spring.