So THAT'S what rain looks/smells/tastes/feels like!
This just in: Minnesota is pretty damn nice.
I spent time there this past weekend, in a town called Walker to be at a wedding for the daughter of one of my wife's best friends. It amounted to some 16 hours on the road for about nine hours of quality face time with people we don't get to see nearly enough of, and it was indeed more than worth it.
You get to see a lot when you drive that far. Among the things I noticed: Wisconsin isn't the only state where drivers have no idea what the left lane is for on a freeway.
And, I was the only person driving in Minnesota this past weekend who wasn't towing either a boat or an RV.
Their license plates say Minnesota is the land of ten thousand lakes, and I believe I saw roughly 9,999 thousand of them (we missed Superior). It really is beautiful this time of year. Walker is one of many towns relying on tourism for their existence, not unlike Eagle River and places in northern Wisconsin. My untrained eye tells me the fiscal future is bright in those parts if things keep up they way they were going Saturday.
I can also confirm that there still is such a thing as rain. This mysterious meteorological event, one that remains a mere rumor in Southeastern Wisconsin, happened Friday night as my wife and I were shopping along the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. We actually got--what did we used to call it?--oh yeah, "rained on" as we scampered from a store to a nearby restaurant. It felt just as I remember it when I was a kid. I almost took pictures. We didn't want to look like slack-jawed yokels to the locals, though, so we kept our cameras to ourselves.
It's been three weeks since our last rain around here, June 16th to be precise. The only reason I remember the exact day is because it also happened to be my daughter's wedding. It rained at midday, just as the attendants were heading off from our house to the church with their freshly done hair-do's, and again that night as the reception was wrapping up.
Three weeks, and no rain. And, it looks as though none will happen this week, at least not according to Scott Steele's extended Today's TMJ4 forecast. Lawns aren't just blond. They're crunchy. Flowers, perennials and trees are feeling the stress. And then there are our friends in the agricultural community. Some say they're close to losing their crops. No one wins if that happens.
I know of no rain dances, and there are no clouds to seed. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it's time for we as good neighbors to do our best to help each other out. Be mindful of burning bans and make sure you aren't watering your lawns unwisely or unnecessarily.
Me? What can I do to end this near-drought? The only thing that I know of, the one move that virtually could assure us of much-needed downpours, probably within the next 24 hours. In fact, it's a solution so obvious I could've saved us all a lot of trouble, kept lawns green, saved crops and avoided the near-Dust Bowl conditions we're now experiencing had I thought of it weeks ago.
I'm heading to the car wash.