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Kitzmann column: Summer plans change as spring comes to life

Just the other day, seeing that it was sunny and sensing that my dog was getting restless and in need of exercise, I decided to take a walk.

I checked the temperature to determine how many layers I would need to be wearing, decided on two, and flung a light jacket over my T-shirt. Upon walking outside, I was struck by a powerful wave of general cheeriness.

The sky was blue, the temperature was hovering around a pleasant 55 degrees, and most importantly, the sun was shining. "Spring is finally here," I muttered to myself, as I triumphantly stomped through the melted snow, humming (because I cannot whistle) several tunes that I had bookmarked as "favorites" in my mental archives.

It happens every year. Just when it seems as though winter will never end, spring overtakes it and Minnesota once again becomes a habitable place to live. This past winter was a particularly trying one for all of us, and some people, our family included, were contemplating a move to a more tropical region of the country.

We thought it a possibility that God had forsaken this area of the country, and never actually intended humans to live here. I seriously wondered whether the people who originally migrated to this cold wasteland were completely out of their minds, or simply forced to reside here as penance for some horrible crime.

But on this sunny day in April, as I briskly walked my retriever down the long road that leads away from our house, it all began to make sense to me.

Northern Minnesota, I thought to myself, is a very rewarding place to live. We endure a winter that forces us to pit our wits against the harsh elements of nature, endure some more, and finally, just when the future seems grayer than the skies themselves, the sun comes out and bathes us in all its glory and we begin to feel like God loves us again.

Our spirits are renewed, and our minds enjoy the surplus of vitamin-D that the sun provides. Rise and shine, for the long night is finally over. Behold, everything old has passed away, everything has become new.

Winter is a lesson in character development, but spring is a celebration of life and the prospects we have now that the world is once again alive. These thoughts and many more were on my mind as I merrily pranced, almost skipped down the road on that beautiful day in March.

The arrival of spring can tend to change my priorities, and now that the weather is warm and I am constantly being tempted to wallow in the warmth, some of my plans for the summer have been altered somewhat. When it's frigid outside and the landscape is covered with a monotonous layer of snow, it is easy for me to say that I'll spend the summer inside doing Pre-Calculus, reading the classics and otherwise getting an academic jump-start on my sophomore year.

But now that the sun is shining, the air is a pleasant temperature, and the outside world is otherwise much more appealing than it was when the snow still flew, I fear that my summer will be less prolific than I originally anticipated. Already my productivity has decreased since The Cold Months, and I expect it will further plummet when my school-going friends are set loose, bored despite their newly-gained liberty and counting on me to entertain them.

So in conclusion, I urge you to take advantage of this wonderful time of the year and get outside. True, it is quite muddy, but I find that even mud seems quite lovely after staring at nothing but white monotony all winter. There's a beautiful world out there, folks, waiting, just waiting for people like you and I to enjoy it.

The harsh throes of winter are behind us, and now we are entering a new season -- one of fun in the sun, wins for the Twins, and yes, philosophical walks in the country.

Nathan Kitzmann is a freshman and is homeschooled.