By John Matonich
Most folks who live in the interior of our great country know that we typically have four seasons. Summer, fall, winter and spring are the seasons that all have aspects that are both good and bad. Most folks may like one over the other, but typically we can find some good things about them all. Here in Da U.P., though, we have a fifth season and it usually isn’t too popular.
This season typically starts at the end of March and usually runs into about the middle of May. It is known around here as “Mud Season”. This is the time of year when the temperatures start to rise and the snow starts to leave. You might think that’s a good thing and it is, but what is left can be a royal pain. As the snow starts to melt, what is left is usually nothing more than a mass of mud.
This condition pretty much prevents just about any outdoor activity from taking place unless you want to spend the rest of the day cleaning your clothes as well as any part of your house that you touched when you came back in from trying to do something. It also seems that the ground around us can hold water and make mud better than anything you could ever plant and grow.
My bride and I have three dogs that regularly need to go outside and do their business. Even if we had a paved drive, I know they would find an area with just enough mud to not stop them in doing their duty, but enough to keep us busy cleaning up afterward when they come back in. Steph keeps her carpet and floor cleaner pretty much at her side so she can stay in top of the mess.
Many folks across the state look forward to a warmer climate after the first of the year to dodge the cold temps and winter storms. That isn’t the case up here. Many folks look to head elsewhere in April to save on the work associated with cleaning up after a trek in the mud. Even if you are lucky enough to not have to traverse across unpaved areas, everything is usually pretty dingy during the fifth season and the sun takes a lot longer to brighten up the outdoors.
Because this fifth season is in between the snowmobile and summer vacation time, many of the folks who would normally visit the area are smart enough to stay wherever they live instead of making the trip here. This means many of our local businesses decide it is a good time for a vacation as well and shut their doors until the sun does its job and the mud goes away. It can sure make finding a good Friday fish fry a challenge.
I was in one of our local pubs recently while March Madness was underway and even though there were a few conversations going on about the brackets, I heard more talk about how bad this year’s fifth season was turning out to be. Having had to try to dodge mud holes to get into my truck to go watch one of the games, I could sure relate.
As with all seasons, this year’s fifth season will pass and I am sure we will appreciate a drier climate and warmer temperatures. Mud Season can be a challenge, but I believe that is the tradeoff we have to endure to not have hurricanes, smog or much in the way of tornadoes. I guess the Big Guy upstairs has a way of evening out the playing field.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.