It's spring in Minnesota, a season essayist Peter Smith enjoys. And he says we're in the midst of a very special season within the season.
Smith: There is the briefest little moment in spring in Minnesota-a matter of days, no more than a week or two-when the trees leaf out and a handful of small Minnesota spring pleasures reappear like so many flower bulbs that have been dormant for months. Small pleasures that make you say, "Oh... Yeah... I remember... This is why I love spring in Minnesota..."
For me, the best of all Minnesota spring pleasures is sleeping with the windows open again.
For months, you've slept with the windows shut-or cracked open just slightly at the most. Now in this part of Minnesota spring, you can throw them open again, and climb into bed for the night.
The cool spring night air flows, thick and delicious, over the windowsills into the room, surrounding the bed, driving you deeper under the blankets. That air and the weight of those blankets all but suppress your breathing, and push you under. The effect is narcotic.
When you sleep with the windows open in spring, you sleep deeply, dream well, and yet somehow you still manage to keep an ear out for old familiar sounds that mark the passing hours.
Migrating geese on the wing. The neighborhood raccoon making his rounds. Trains coming and going, whistling at crossings from one horizon to another. The occasional lonely set of misaligned tires singing on a highway in the middle distance. This time of year, even silence itself seems to have a positive, reassuring texture. Right up to the moment the morning paper plops on the front stoop and those first tentative pre dawn birds start in.
But only for this moment. Only for this little now. One of these days the temperature will rise into the eighties. The neighbors will seal themselves in and turn on the air conditioner. The unrelenting off-and-on whirring and clanking of the compressor will force you to close your windows too.
The silence in the bedroom will be oppressive. The air will be still as a mausoleum. Laying there like a marble king atop a sarcophagus, you'll be just a bit sadder somehow. The cycle will have completed itself. Time will have marched on. A window will have closed and this beautiful little season will have come to an end.