It is official, or at least it is official with me, I am declaring an end to winter. That is right, spring has sprung, and I am completely over winter. Sure, winter was nice when we were talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. The snow was white and pristine, and we were enjoying the transition from fall to the holiday season. However, shortly after Christmas — this year it was shortly after Thanksgiving — winter ceased to be fun.
We got into the everyday drain of winter, cold weather, mud and snow and it suddenly got old fast. The joy of calving and lambing soon gave way to the beat down Mother Nature was about to give us in January, February and March. All we could do was dream of warmer weather, green grass and the coming of spring. That is why I am officially declaring that it is spring.
How do I know? Would I have shaved my winter beard, washed my chore clothes or bought Easter candy if it wasn’t spring? Nope, I decided that if spring wasn’t going to find me, I was going to find spring. So, I shaved off my winter Grizzly Adams beard, threw the coveralls in the washer, broke open the jelly beans and kicked winter out.
I decided if Jennifer can declare a new holiday season by simply changing the décor, I can declare a new weather season by changing my outlook. Gone is the dreary, muddy, crusty winter look and in is the new, light, warm spring time. The air is warmer, the breeze is softer, and the horizon is greener. Ding Dong, winter is dead, and spring is here to stay.
That is how it works, right? We can throw up the windows, pull the curtains back, and let the spring come right on in. Yes, I know winter can still rear her ugly head at any time clear into May. I also realize that if it does, I will probably start getting hate mail from all of you who think my announcement of spring will cause retaliation from winter. It probably will and you all will be right. One should not tempt fate.
I know this winter has gotten everyone down and I just want to bring a little cheer to each of you. I must admit that watching the weather turn warmer and the grass green up has made me think that I might make it through what I think has been one of the toughest winters in recent memory. I know we have probably had worse winters, but it has been a while and I hope we don’t see anything like this one for a long time.
I recently did an interview with a newspaper reporter from Washington, D.C. He asked me if I was still optimistic with everything going on in agriculture today. My answer to him was a quick and emphatic “yes.” I went on to tell him that I believe everyone in agriculture has to be an eternal optimist. Sure, we get down in the short term, but we always believe the future will be better. Things might be rough right now but at some point in the future, they will get better, we just must hang on until then. It might be the markets, or it might be the weather. At least with the weather we know it is going to change.
Yes, I know I might be, and probably am, a bit premature in saying that winter is dead and gone. I am equally sure that I will be eating my words sometime in the next two or three weeks, but until then I am going to enjoy the warmer weather and the greener grass. I am going to take in the sunshine and smell the spring and think that better times are coming.
If there ever was a winter to celebrate coming out on the other side and just surviving, it was this year. I know many of you still are looking at huge challenges left to you by this winter. My heart goes out to you and I hope you will find the eternal optimism that is inherent to all of us in agriculture. While you are working through hard times today, look at a point down the road that will be better times.
I have to say that the morning after I shaved my beard and washed my coveralls was a bit chilly, leaving me wondering if I was a bit premature. However, the sun did come out and it did warm up that afternoon. It may snow again and given the track record of this year, it probably will, but until then I am declaring it officially spring. You know what — if I am wrong and it does snow, I will build a snowman, dress him with one of my Hawaiian shirts, cover him in sunscreen and declare it spring again. Eventually, I will be right.
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.