bring swimsuits and snow shoes for this unusual weather

Soundtrack: John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things”

North Winter Girl Beautiful Girl unusual weather
ninaboots / Pixabay

I wish I’d brought my camera to the Union Terrace on Lake Mendota today. When I got there, I was treated to a most unusual weather spectacle. Looking out over the lake, I saw someone in a tank top and shorts near the edge of the lake–which is still mostly covered with ice. At least I think it’s ice. The substance is purplish-black in color, which initially made me think that it might be slush or something like that, but then I saw seagulls landing on it and walking on it effortlessly.

No, this wasn’t a tailgate party for a Green Bay Packers game. This person in the tank top was actually dressed for the weather. (No green and gold face paint either.) The temperature climbed up to an unseasonably warm 77 degrees today, and so I took advantage of the unusual weather to enjoy the Memorial Union Terrace for the first time in 2007.

There have been fog warnings in the early morning over the last few days. People have been reporting really thick fog coming off the lakes, probably caused by the contrast in the temperature between the lake’s surface and the air temperature.

No ice fishermen, though. I didn’t check out Monona Bay to see if they were there, but there weren’t any on Lake Mendota. The edges of both lakes were for the most part open water, and I suspect the ice is not thick enough to support human weight.

At the beginning of this month I was taking pictures of snow piles eight and nine feet high. All of that is gone now. Of course, we could still have an April blizzard, and I’ve even seen flurries on May 1st.

But today, cabin fever sufferers like me rushed outside like rodents following the Pied Piper. Just about every table was taken at the Terrace. The picnic tables near the water were still stacked—nobody had yet gotten around to un-stacking them. State Street was crowded.

I found myself a table in what was supposed to be shade—except that with no leaves on the trees, no shade was to be had. I definitely picked up some color on my face and arms. (My skin is so fair that I can get a third-degree sunburn from a light bulb.)

A family sat near me and they brought a brown Labrador puppy with them. I’d heard of dogs being chick magnets, but I’d never observed it closely. Sure enough, I saw women diverting significantly from their path for a chance to pet the puppy, who was quite overwhelmed by the attention. One woman sitting behind me told the puppy, “You are so cute.  I love you.  You are a lot more interesting than my anatomy textbook.”

I guess we’re supposed to have the same kind of weather tomorrow. Too bad I have to work tomorrow—and I think calling in sick would seem rather suspicious…

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