Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 27, 2014

MARK BENNETT: The blessings of a long, cold, snowy winter in Indiana

Pests could be less plentiful; gardens should start strong.

As spring, summer arrive, Hoosiers will appre­ciate icy months (well, maybe a little).

Queue up Richie Havens’ husky baritone.

“Little darlin’, I feel that ice is slowly melting; little darlin’, it seems like years since it’s been clear; here comes the sun.”

Never more true? Maybe that conclusion exaggerates this winter’s severity. It’s close, though. “It’s the coldest and snowiest winter [in central Indiana] in 32 years,” Al Shipe, hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said Friday. The winter of 1981-82 topped it, in terms of the combination of low temperatures and heavy snowfall.

Wabash Valley residents don’t need precipitation measurements, thermometer readings and freeze-line depths to believe they’ve just experienced a long, cold, snowy winter. Until the sun came last week, snow and ice had covered the ground since people were vacuuming the crushed taco chips from New Year’s Eve out of their couch cushions. Chances are, if they didn’t take down the outside Christmas lights in the 40-degree warmth of New Year’s Day, they’re still hanging on the gutters. (Sorry if that’s a sore subject at your place.) Regardless, since then we’ve all developed deeper relationships with our snow shovels, the power company’s report-an-outage hotline, tow trucks, black ice, windshield scrapers and shoes sprinkled with salt and sand.

Recounting all that feels like whining, though. As a young woman walking out of the Tribune-Star building recently and into the latest round of horizontal snowfall declared, to no one in particular, “If anybody mentions the weather, they’re getting throat-punched.”

Drawing on that inspiration, let’s celebrate good throat health and look at the upsides of this winter. (It does actually have upsides.)

• It’s almost over. Yes, the spring equinox doesn’t arrive until March 20, but forget that.

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