The Long Way Home 2.24.2023

It’s almost March Madness. Some consider March madness to mean college basketball playoffs. I think there is something else, something more, to March madness. 

Here in Cook County, March is the longest month of winter. Whether it comes in like a lion or comes in like a lamb, there seem to be many more overcast days than sunny ones. There tends to be too many snowstorms. And it seems like people are just a bit more angry than at any other time of the year.

In my newspaper publishing days we printed a law enforcement report each week. It was a log of calls and reports from the responding deputies. Those reports were written by the officers, and back then they weren’t standardized like now. Some of them were laugh out loud funny.

The reports had so much character that a morning radio show in the Twin Cities used to read them on the air, just for laughs.

While there is no concrete evidence, it seemed to those of us in the newsroom that the reports from the cop shop could be a tad darker and the calls more numerous in March. We also saw a bit of madness in the letters to the editor in March and public meetings of various kinds seemed more contentious. March madness.

The March-like weather we had here last week, a half inch of rain that created a half foot of slush followed by ice everywhere, has left me with a feeling of madness. It might be killing me.

In the winter we plow our 600-foot driveway, a broad area for parking, and a bit of the now abandoned road, what we call the old road, that comes up from County 14.

These plowed surfaces allow us to walk the four dogs that call our house “home” for their four times a day constitutional. They, and we two old ones, are pretty ingrained in the habit. The dogs however don’t realize how we humans are endangered now that ice covers all the plowed surfaces.

YakTrax are nice on the snow-packed surfaces we walk on, but they are only slightly better than useless on the ice. And ice is everywhere. Large areas of the ice  are as smooth as a skating rink, the rest is about as smooth as a curling rink. Not good for someone with a deathly fear of a nosedive on the frozen ground.

I’m one who has that deathly fear. 

My fear of falling on the ice is that I’d be injured and unable to do the chores of dog walks and firewood moving for the rest of the winter. And I don’t know who would do them for me.

So I only go out with YakTrax on my boots and take only baby steps, not moving one foot until I know the other is securely planted. All the time I’m imagining the worst that could happen if I fell and the stress is incredible. By the time the dogs have done their duty, my adrenalin is raised to peak levels, and it takes some time to calm me down. Ice walking March madness.