Or the weather. Or the nearly-bare trees, or those fat furry little caterpillars that keep crawling across the sidewalk.
My fellow Minnesotans. Did you know that-- drum roll please--
Winter is coming?
That's right. Just when you least expect it. Somewhere toward the end of that cute cat calendar you got at Barnes and Noble there's a page marked "December." Even more sinister is the one before that, marked "November." November is the sneaky one. Remember that. Never trust November any further than you can throw it.
How can we know what to expect?
Luckily for you, the State of Minnesota has declared November 7-11 to be Winter Awareness Week. Or more fully, Winter Hazard Awareness Week. WHAW.
No kidding, there's an official website. From the opening paragraph:
"The cold and snowy season is almost here and the question is – are you ready for it? To make sure everyone is, HSEM--" [that's Homeland Security, folks-- everyone knows the dastardly plans terrorists have for winter weather]"-- is again sponsoring Winter Hazard Awareness Week.ˆ"
Isn't that decent of them? They're making sure everyone knows what time of the year it is! Because if the State of Minnesota didn't tell you, how would you know? What, you're gonna rely on that old "see how furry the wooly caterpillars are" trick? Everyone knows you can't trust a wooly caterpillar!
But I feel safer now. More aware. Less completely clueless about the seasons.
"The week is a dedicated information campaign designed to educate and remind people of the most common hazards associated with winter and practical tips on how to avoid them."
The most practical tip, of course, would be "Move. Somewhere south." Followed closely by "We're really, really sorry we thought this would be a good place to set up a state."
"At some point every winter, temperatures in Minnesota drop below zero." No kidding. I like that "at some point" part. I guess it's more tactful than "about a dozen times, sometimes for days at a time. You're gonna love it."
"Naturally, the best way to avoid any danger is to stay indoors in a well heated environment." Well. I'll only believe that if a real live climate scientist wrote it. Did a scientist write that? Credentials, please?
"But if you do feel the need to venture outdoors, make sure you take proper precautions and know how to spot the signs of frostbite and hypothermia." Also "death." They left out "death." It helps entertain the kiddies if you can also properly identify the following: snowmen, skating rinks, and anyone without snow tires. But you want to keep your distance from that last group. Stupid is catching.
And to make it all more fun, they are sponsoring a Photo Contest. They're calling it "What's Your Winter?"
"The public is invited to show us how they enjoy their safe winter by sharing their best digital photos throughout the season."
The winner of last year's contest- youth division- can be viewed on the website.
It is a picture of some snow.
Now say it with me, everyone: We love living in Minnesota. We really, really do!