The holiday company has gone. The mess in the living room has been picked up. And here we are in the last week of the year. If you're looking for something to do this week, Peter Smith suggests trying a great old "last week of the year" Minnesota tradition.
The days are short. The sun is low in the sky. There's nothing to do at the office. You're hard-pressed to come up with a reason to get out of your sweat pants.
Vast low pressure weather systems park overhead and suppress ambition. Something deep in your mammalian brain whispers, "Let's hibernate."
It's winter nap time in Minnesota. What August is to sweet corn, this last week of December is to napping. It just doesn't get more delicious than this.
We're talking a minimum of two hours under that quilt your aunt gave you. The one that's so heavy it all but causes apnea-and leaves bedspread dimples that last well past suppertime.
We're talking deep sleep, too. It's as if that quilt were holding you under. It's so warm and comfortable. Even winter nap dreams are warmer and more comfortable.
I'm not saying Minnesota winter napping is good, but the Department of Tourism ought to be out there telling people about it. The governor should promote it the way he does the fishing opener.
Florida may be warm this time of year, but we've got cozy, quiet napping down pat. It belongs on our license plates: "10,00 Lakes. Great Winter Naps."
There are those high metabolism people who feel compelled to stay awake and keep busy all afternoon. You can hear them puttering, fidgeting, always doing something somewhere in the house. But if you're a real Minnesotan, you learn to ignore them and snooze on in sweet oblivion all afternoon.
If you're lucky, it's deep dusk when you wake up. You feel exquisitely, sinfully guilty of something. You're not quite sure what, but you lay there in that warm little nest you've created for yourself under that quilt and it seems like a shame that you have to stay conscious five whole hours before you can go back to sleep.
But the days are getting longer already. And the 2010 rat race begins in earnest next Monday. Clearly winter nap season won't last forever.
So c'mon, Minnesota. Grab your quilts and pillows. Climb into bed. Let's go.
On your mark...