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Sam Cook column: And we thought we had this one whipped

Sam Cook is an outdoors writer for the Duluth News Tribune.

I look out the window on this April afternoon and see sheets of snow knifing past, north to south. It's been falling — falling, heck, it's been slashing down on cruel northeast winds — since early this morning.

This isn't right, of course. Or fair to a people who have endured five or six months of winter already.

Smugly, we chuckled and clucked with delight when storms in recent days nailed the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota. "Yes!" we gloated. "Not us! Not this time!"

It wasn't that we wished ill on our friends and cousins from Faribault to Mankato to Montevideo. No, no. We were just thrilled at our own good fortune when we were spared. Our airport was happy to serve as refuge for several waylayed aircraft. Give us your tired, your poor truncated travelers. Let us take them in, wrap them in warm blankets and prepare for them hot soup. We, too, have been stranded in Detroit or Dubuque or Des Moines. We feel their frustration.

We heard about the Interstate being shut down all across South Dakota. We looked at each other and smiled the "better them than us" smile. Sure, we had our wind at 38 gusting to 49. Wind! A trifling inconvenience. You don't have to shovel or plow or blow wind. Bring it on! We flocked to the Lakewalk and Brighton Beach and Stoney Point to see the surf. We sent big-wave videos to far-flung friends.

But we were April fools. We should have known we'd pay for being smug.

We we awoke on Sunday to an all-day pummeling of powder, a superfluous flogging by flake, our own cruel comeuppance. We saw words on our weather app we didn't recall seeing before: "Multiple hazards in effect: Click here for details."

We were caught with our pants down, our snowblower gas tanks on "E," our shovels stashed. We were emotionally unprepared for this meteorological boomerang. We had flung winter away emotionally, and now it had come curling back to us.

We do not want Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." We do not want the horse as he "gives his harness bells a shake," no, we do not. We certainly do not want to watch the woods "fill up with snow." We cannot get into Frost's "sweep of easy wind and downy flake."

It's a lovely poem. In January, even February.

But we are not feeling poetic about winter now. We are feeling done about it. Sort of sick about it. Sort of generally angry about it.

There.

That feels better.

Now, where are those snow-blowing bibs? I'm going to fire up that 8-horse machine that belches the sweet scent of blue exhaust and by gosh move some snow.

Because, quite honestly, we have no other choice.

Sam Cook is a News Tribune columnist and outdoors writer. Reach him at (218) 723-5332 or scook@duluthnews.com. Find his Facebook page at facebook.com/SamCookOutdoors or his blog at samcook.areavoices.com.

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