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Midwest girl at heart has to stay, despite intense seasons

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Detroit Lakes Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

It is, according to my cherry-cobbler car's fervent defrosting aspirations, the ice dispersed through the blood struggling to seep out of the epidermal chasms in my knuckles, and my best efforts at sensory perception, extremely cold out.

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Maybe you've noticed. Perhaps you haven't taken the garbage out in a month because the putrid stench emitting from the towering heaps of Mickey D's Happy Meal containers, half-eaten Wednesday night leftovers, and other unmentionables "can wait 'til next week..." when taken in the context of how many layers are necessary for walking the rank refuse down the driveway.

Mayhap you've taken to timing your morning trek to and from the car to start the engine because muscle-numbing frigidity is your only motivation to start sprinting, and it's got you considering going up against some Kenyans in the 2012 summer Olympics.

Perchance your realization that it's necessary to be inside before demolishing your DQ blizzard, as the mall-to-car stretch is a tad too chilly, aided in your understanding of the temperature's severity. (I know you're still eating ice cream despite the wind chill and "fifteen-below-but-feels-like-three-hundred-and-seven-below" forecasts, so don't exert yourself to craft any elaborate denials. Unless you think the intensity of your thoughts will thaw the little hairs in your nose or insinuate some warmth into your extremities.)

It's weather like this that makes me consider applying to schools down south. I hear the U of California-Berkeley is gloriously artistic, and Vanderbilt in Nashville certainly has an impressive academic reputation.

Also, you can supposedly feel all ten fingers and all 10 toes throughout the entirety of October, November, December, January, February, and March. Oh, the absurdity!

And then I remember who I am: a Midwest girl, unchangeably Minnesotan, inevitably intertwined with disgustingly cold winters, oppressively humid summers, ironclad work ethic (except for second semester of senior year, apparently, to which all the best intentions are not immune the intensities of senioritis), and an adoration for the four seasons that cannot go unquenched.

In this part of the country, one knows what season it is based on the sorts of complaints littering the sound waves. As much as everybody is bemoaning and bewailing the bitter quality of the current cold over steaming bowls of soup and mugs of tea this week, we all know that the theme of reproach come June or July (oh, Lordy, I hope it's sooner than that!) will be the unbearably muggy mess we all become as soon as the sun does rear its global warming-inclined rays.

Disagree? Can't fathom a time when the warmth is too much? You lie. Through your teeth. Or you're an imposter and don't really live in Minnesota. Check your driver's license.

I'm guilty: I lament having to wait in the school parking lot for 10 minutes before my brakes start to work (which is still better than lamenting to a police officer or my parents after sliding through an intersection, I would estimate). I deplore how undeniably ugly the whole world gets in the spring when everything melts and the leftover snow's content is over three-quarters dirt;.

I gripe and grumble -- and pant -- about how the atmosphere becomes so heavy in the summer that my chest can't heave in any more breath than emphysema might allow. But I wouldn't trade it for a Mediterranean climate or a tropical one or whatever other sorts we learned about in ninth grade geography.

I'll go to school in Minnesota or maybe head down south to Illinois and trade DL for the Windy City's lovely temperament, but farther than that I'm afraid I cannot stray.

I need the unpleasant extremes. I need the first time every spring when I venture outside and hear my favorite bird's whistling, even while attempting to de-ice my ears, eyelashes and nose ring.

I need the crisp clear quality of autumn air and crackling leaves on the sidewalk. I need the weather to get cold enough that I make the effort to actually zip up my jacket or dig my mittens out of the caverns of my NYC designer knockoff bag. I need lazing down the Ottertail because it's too gosh-darned hot to do anything else.

And you, good sir or madam, are still here, too, so unless you're 5 and incapable of leaving the merry Midwest of your own accord (I'm guessing I have a huge fan base of 5-year-olds, too, because we probably have identical maturity levels and do similar things to alleviate tantrum-inducing stresses), you secretly love it, too.

I challenge you to think of something original to complain about this week. I've got dibs on Kmart not having a drive-thru and losing your car keys in the snow bank only to find them in the street when everything melts in May! Compose your own and carry on.

Thressa Johnson is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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