Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"Boreal"


(photo: Sonja Wolter)

Spring is reclining upon Northern Minnesota with unaccustomed ease. Normally, our Spring takes months to really settle in; indeed, for weeks, we get buffeted about by a variety of snowstorms, mudslides, and occasional peeps of sun, which has us all wearing swimsuits accessorized by puddle boots and ear muffs. But this year, I can hardly believe we had thirteen inches of snow fall upon us a mere few weeks ago, so completely has it all disappeared.




(Thus was our tire swing during Easter week)


In fact, we've had such a stretch of warm, sunny days that I have had to hiss, throw up my cape for protection, and retire to my casket early some days. As a pasty heat-curmudgeon, I'm already missing the snow and would welcome an announcement that another three inches might fall tomorrow.

At this news, some people would be hollering "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" like Marlon Brando chewing up the scenery with his "STELLLLLLLA" in Streetcar Named Desire. I, however, am perverse about snow and, at the prediction of an imminent blizzard, would find my feet tapping out a happy syncopation of "It's okay/I don't care/I'll just wear/fleece underwear."

Yup, some of us just like snow. Compared to my pal, Sonja, though, I am a snow dilettante. A Minnesota native, Sonja has taken her Cold Fever to new lows: she's done several tours at posts in Antarctica, and last year she was part of a four-woman crew stationed, quite remotely, in Greenland.

While such isolated polar adventures afford endless chances for wacky and creative entertainment, such as using welding equipment to make each other Christmas gifts out of refuse, there is actual serious purpose to Sonja's sojourns. In Greenland, she did science stuff, and that's as deep as I'm going to go because typing "science stuff" pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the natural world. That, and I know herpetologists study snakes (shout out to Miss Frizzle and her Magic School Bus!). But that's all I've got.

When in Greenland, Sonja and her cohorts took measurements of a variety of things, from their tempers to snowpack, as is evidenced in this photo of Sonja measuring snow depth in what they call the "bamboo forest":














By the way, she's a babe, inn't she? She can "measure my pack" any day.

So here I sit, safely watching the springtime leeks sprinkle across the muddy trails, cursing the deer for eating our tulips, mourning the season finale of 30 ROCK, while Sonja, well, she puts my snowcrazies to shame. Back in the States, she readjusts to the hectic life of traffic and reality tv, with her frostbitten nose and amputated toes, plotting her next sojourn to

a remote outpost,

someplace colder than the Jimmy Hoffa case,

a place where the pressures of the real world recede into continual darkness

a quiet spot free of the overwhelmage of humanity.


Sounds like Alec Baldwin's next cocktail party, eh?

29 comments:

Jeannie said...

You, Sonja and I are not of the same species. I believe God messed up terribly settling me at this latitude. I am rarely too hot. I am nearly always cold. Give me the sun and turn it up a notch.

BeachMama said...

Wow, can't believe you are wishing for snow! One thing I miss about living in Manitoba is the Aurora Borealis, it was always so wonderful. We do get it here, but no where near as often.

I'll take all the warmth that you don't need ;).

ldbug said...

Oh so cool! I would love to do an Artic trip someday!

Voyager said...

Yes, snow is wonderful. If you have real snow, rather than the wet mashed potatoe slop that falls on Vancouver a few times a year. I like to go to real snow, and not have any of the mashed potatoe stuff come to me. In fact I once took a ski trip to New Zealand in August. It was strange, but wonderful to play in winter in August.
V.
V

Em said...

I never had reason to question your sanity. In fact, I've always thought of you as one of my absolute favorite bloggers - smart, funny, inspiring. But perhaps I've misjudged your sanity. Snow? You want MORE snow??? My dear Jocelyn, surely you jest!

Lulu (Dan's cat) said...

Hooray for spring! Now I get to sit in the window all day and watch the Spanish-speaking landscapers cut the grass ... instead of the Spanish-speaking landscapers shoveling the snow.

MEOWWWWWW!

Awesome Mom said...

I am not a heat person either. I shut down in the summer if it gets too bad (say anything above 75) lol

Shari said...

Are you crazy? Here I am, bordering MN in WI, and I hate winter!! However, I do hate it when it gets too hot, too. I'd prefer 75-85 degree weather with low humidity.

To each his own, eh?

Claire said...

I actually miss the snow.
"sounds like Alec Baldwin's next cocktail party" LOL!! He is persona non grata among his cabal of liberal cohorts. Hey Alec, how 'bout next time you don't make a baby with a berserk deranged kookola!

WanderingGirl said...

I heart the Northern Lights. I miss them tremendously! Maybe I need to go further north!

Infinitesimal said...

firstly, I think Alec Baldwin needs to steer clear of cocktails, esp. in party form.

secondly, snakes, would not be my first guess as to the main area of interest for anyone with the title of: "herpetologist".

thanks indeed Mrs. Frizzle.

frannie said...

the magic schoolbus ROCKS!

Diesel said...

"she readjusts to the hectic life of traffic and reality tv, with her frostbitten nose and amputated toes"

Where does she keep the toes? I'd wear them on a necklace, but that's me. Or maybe glue them to a hat and tell people I'm toe-headed.

That picture is cool. It looks like she's on the moon. Moon babes are hot.

Princess Pointful said...

I would love to hear what it is like to experience such isolation paired with such harsh environmental conditions-- takes a unique person to seek out both of those!

Glamourpuss said...

Living in temperate England, I am in thrall to snow, but the ravages of cold on the complexion rather put me off moving to chillier climes.

Vain, I know...

Puss

Balou said...

What a great adventure for your friend. Brr though! Tell me where it's 50-80 degrees F all year long. I'm there in a heartbeat.

furiousBall said...

I love snow as well. The more the better. My kids are going to miss snow. Being snowed in or nearly is comforting to me for some reason. It means everyone is home in blankets, safe. I guess that's it.

Karen said...

Oooh your frind Sonja looks like she's having a blast in Greenland. Reminds me of a scene out of The Thing. I'm so jealous.

Off topic. Shoes. I am indeed serious about the shoes Jocelyn however I'd prefer to mail them within Canada simply because the cost of shipping outside the country gets a bit expensive. I'm waiting to hear from a friend here in town about them. If she doesn't want them, I'll let you know and see what I can do about sending them.

Logophile said...

You know, your friend is an incredible babe.
Ive never felt this way about a woman before...
Anyway, wow, just wow, more snow??
Something odd there, glad you and MN are very happy together. I can do quite nicely with the snow staying up in the mountains where it belongs, thank you very kindly.

Theresa said...

"It's okay/I don't care/I'll just wear/fleece underwear." While reading this I just about peed my underwear, which, by the way is not fleece.

Miss the snow? That is just something I can not relate to. I'm just a California girl at heart. Antarctica and Greenland are definitely not on the top of my list of places to visit.

lime said...

i am rather fond of snow but certainly not enough to want to vacation in greenland or antarctica, though i have a great great aunt who mushed dogs acorss greenland and loved it. she's such a pip.

choochoo said...

so where are all the pics of the swimsuit-and-earmuff-wearing people? I wanna see

my4kids said...

I love snow to and am not very tolerant of the heat.

Tai said...

Hmmm.
Well, I guess that I'm glad that I'm here in sunny Victoria, and I'll happily wish for more snow for you!

Dorky Dad said...

When I was in South Carolina I told folks about people like you, but nobody believed me. Now I have this post as PROOF and cold/snow lovers exist. Thank you, Jocelyn. Thank you.

And by the way, I've tagged you.

Top cat said...

She sounds like a Hot chick.
I thought I was the only one who shouted Nooooooooooooo like Marlon Brando.
I wonder if your pee would freeze as soon as you urinated causing a peecycle, ask her for me will ya?..please, pretty please.:)
tc

Mother of Invention said...

man, what a babe she is...not soft and mushy like most of us, although I can see you up there with your love of the white frozen stuff! My husband would lve it too! He's FINALLY hung up his skis and has taken out his roller-skis and bike now! When I kike, he runs and we're almost even paced..it's just sad! BTW, neat pic of the aurora borealis! I would never tire of seeing that up there. They have always fascinated me.

Hope you've put away your snow shoes and whatever else you do in winter!

cathy said...

I finally got round to linking you as promised.Sorry for the delay had a heavy week in the real world.

CS said...

See, it's a good thing there are people like you who love cold and snow to leave the warmth for me. I am happiest at about 80 degrees, sunny, maybe a slight breeze. Heaven.