“Now is the winter of our discontent” wrote William Shakespeare in the opening lines of his play Richard III around the year 1591.
I don’t know what month he wrote this, but it must have been January. Every January is the winter of my discontent and it frequently extends into February.
Every December we hear the Christmas music about “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”
That was December. This is January. The winter wonderland has become a winter wasteland.
Driving for family Christmas gatherings from central Illinois to west central Minnesota, I have seen the winter wasteland.
January is a long month, 31 days, long nights and generally too cold.
February offers only a slight reprieve with 28 days, slightly increasing daylight and still too cold.
The new year of 2013 has an additional complication; without rain in the next 90 to 120 days, we will be the New American Desert.
Adding to my misery, the cold I have had for the last 30 days has not helped my attitude either as I have a two-handkerchief-a-day habit now in its fourth week.
However, there are signs that all is not lost and yes, there is hope. You have to look for them, but they are there.
The days are now getting longer. We are gaining 60 to 90 seconds a day, not much but it does add up day by day.
One of my favorite treats of the year is now in season, grapefruit. A grapefruit that either starts or ends your day is a gift from the gods.
Once the sections have been eaten (no sugar, please), the best is still in your hands as that grapefruit half is squeezed between your hands (try to imagine a vise) and the fresh squeezed juice is caught in a bowl.
Lift the bowl to your lips and swallow one of the purest forms of pleasure available.
The only disappointment is that there won’t be enough of it. More grapefruit, please.
With the exception of this record drought, these events happen every year and winter finally yields to spring.
Then we get serious about the rest of the year with the planning of events that can take place outside until the heat sends us scurrying back into air conditioning.
I would still rather be too warm than too cold.
Freezing weather creates too many new problems from a car that won’t start to anything left outside freezes solid.
Then once spring arrives our winter wasteland becomes this amazing place that goes from shades of brown to luxurious green.
New growth returns to a place that mere months ago looked uninhabitable. On some days, it was uninhabitable.
You can see why Shakespeare’s words have a better ring to them than mine.
My words would be “Now is the winter of our constant complaining”
Or how about “continual bellyaching”? “Perpetual whining”?
How about “Now is the winter of our grousing without end”? I think I am getting closer.
In the meantime, Shakespeare has little to worry about with me as a threat.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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