Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: What a change a week makes

Okay, for those of you keeping records, weekend two at Lake Tschida was somewhat different than weekend one. The weather last weekend was in the 80s, this weekend the high snuck just barely above 40.

The cold stuff overwhelmed that wonderful warm stuff on Thursday. The cold stuff turned to rain on Friday and the rain turned to snow in the midst of my Saturday morning walk along Crappie Creek Road.

The snow didn’t last, but the cold and rain stuck around thru Saturday. As long as you put on the following going outside was not a bad experience: Good socks, pants, t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, rain pants, hooded rain jacket, stocking hat, shoes that tolerate mud, and gloves.

Now contrast this with last weekend, where a tank top and shorts got me by. Thus, the only scientific fact I have to offer here is that you should be able to use these opening lines as proof that if you don’t like the weather around here, just stick around a bit and it will change…

So, if you’re still reading this you should be asking what does one do at the lake on such dreary days?

Thanks for asking. I caught up on my reading, writing, and prepared for a class I’m teaching. However, one can’t just stay in the cabin all day because one can do that at home, right? So there were bouts of cabin fever where a fella just has to bundle up and just go outside for a while.

This itch was satiated early this morning with the aforementioned walk in the snow. Then there was that thingamajig that dimfabbled and when I went to dimfobulate it my cloth gloves got wet and my hands got cold, so I quickly re-entered the warm cabin after dimfibulating the problem… and of course this was just a piece of fairy work (work that nobody sees unless no one does it).

Then I sat down at my computer and worked on my class, ate, napped, ate again, then dressed up again, tossed some fishing poles in the bay, and came back to nap some more. Around 5 p.m. my friends Sam and Bud showed up and the sun seemed to be trying to poke its nose through a three-day cloak of gray.

The grandkids took the golf cart and the fishing poles and headed to the rocks on Yeager’s point to fish. Garrision Keilor came on the radio and I found a place to sit down with Bud, Sam, Renee, and Ben. The clouds were still rather thick, the air was charged with freshness from two days of rain when the sun broke through the clouds for the first time in almost three days.

Renee let out a cheer, I closed my eyes and just soaked up the warmth, and Ben sat there worrying about his parents’ sanity. Spring came to the prairie early this year and it’s certainly been a blessing to those of us who love spring. When the sun faded again I looked around me and it seemed like I was in Oz. The air itself seemed to be green, after another winter our beloved prairie was coming back to life. And all I could think was that God gave us spring to confirm His promise that life goes on even after we’re done here.

Harry Chapin wrote a song called “All My Life’s a Circle…” “sunrise and sundown, the moon rolls over the mountains and the daybreak comes around. All my life’s a circle, I can’t tell you why. Seasons change and rearrange and the years keep rollin’ by.” Indeed, seasons change and the years keep rollin’ by, and one of the beauties of living out here on the lonesome prairie is that as each season passes we find ourselves in the midst of our maker’s circle of life.  Summer represents life at its fullest, fall represents life’s decline, winter represents death, and spring starts it all over again… and that’s why I love spring.

Sometimes it’s just best to sit back and be thankful that we’re here at all…