Weather delays spring rituals

By Tyson Nafus

Winter came, left, came back again and refuses to leave us alone.  Regardless, students still don summer attire, ride motorcycles to school when the roads are not slick with ice, and keep waiting for the flowers to spring up once the snows finally cease. It’s part of the cultural routine that continues unabated despite the external circumstances.

Another important part of that routine is spring cleaning. While not too many rugs are  being shaken outside — lest they become damp from the snow or slipping off the railing into a chilly puddle — I’m sure vacuum cleaners are reaching into dark corners of the pantry left long forgotten since the fall. Winter creates a stasis for our species, a slowing-down and laze that creates holiday weight-gain and gray-day doldrums. Is it our culture-wide circadian rhythm that drives the normal sprucing at the proper time (despite the weather conditions), or do some people just go insane if the dust bunnies start to breed?

That’s another missing facet from this spring: animals. I know I heard birds for a couple days, right outside my window, chirping frantically, getting their spring in for the two days they were allowed of it. Monday morning, I saw a little robin puffing out his feathers against the wet snowfall, twitching in cold disgust. What happens to the bunnies that don’t have shovels to dig out of their burrows? Is the entire world’s routine going to be essentially hung-over as this second winter finally thaws?

Oh my goodness, the weather’s now stalled the real start of this column. Spring semester for many feels like the end — which could be a carry-over from the traditional end of May from high school years. However, for non-traditional students like me, the end of spring is just the end of another cycle. The routine, measured so carefully and meticulously by some people, is just a phase that someone either adheres to or chooses to ignore. We’re defined by the cycles we let run our lives, whether they are academic, construction, retail, political or agricultural rhythms. That last one must be all askew this year. 

I have a hypothesis about the weather, actually. Because South Dakota essentially had no winter last year (and this year’s was slow to start), perhaps we’ve been granted this second winter to make up for the one we missed. The climate asked for an incomplete on last year’s assignment and now we have to trudge through twice as much snow to make up for the missed deadline. This is why professors go crazy over late assignments, and I fully appreciate their frustration now. Additionally, I am guilty of bringing my motorcycle out of storage a few weeks back during that one good weekend we had, so by order of Murphy’s Law, it is also my fault.

Spring will come out eventually, just in time for the first week of summer to sweep it aside. Don’t worry though: maybe the weather will play catch-up again next year and we’ll have two springs instead of a spring and summer. It’ll make swimming in rivers and lakes a bit cold, but I’d prefer that over slush in April.


Tyson Nafus is a senior with a major in sociology and can be emailed at [email protected].