Open Letter to Editor of Outdoor Athlete Magazine...
[cc of email sent 5/24, no reply]
I picked up your May issue and notice that in your editorial you twice refer to Michigan in, I have to say, an unenthusiastic way.
I think we need to sign you up for a "love your state" clinic!
It's just what the doctor ordered and would do you a world of good.
But don't fret, we run into this condition fairly often, and it's easily cured. One strategically-designed Michigan-love session should be all it takes for what ails you.
To get to the point: you need a dose of WINTER love!
I felt so bad for you when in your editorial you say that spring gives us a chance to "shoot out of that 5-month-or-so winter slump." Say it ain't so! You feel deprived for almost HALF your year? OUCH!
Nobody deserves such a fate in such a glorious state. ...Winter rocks!
Do people complain about winter who live in Aspen or Vail? Well, our winter is just as cool.
You go on to wonder "How could we survive another grueling winter?"
The real problem is that winter isn't long enough! ...For downstaters, anyway. Also, it does waffle around some in the downstate slush-zone. But we have ways of dealing with that.
OK, here's the first step to a cure, it's a mantra. Say it with me: "All our seasons are great." Any real Michigander knows this. I'd think newcomers can pick up on it quick, too. ...But I admit that with today's lame "indoorist" tendency it MIGHT sometimes be hard to see.
For instance, a few years ago Lansing had a local TV weatherman who constantly complained about winter during winter. We were flummoxed. Where did he think he was? It turned out that he was a Floridian commuting here during the week then flying home to his southern family on the weekends! Bad, bad, bad in every lame way.
It's true that if you don't get OUTSIDE in the fresh air and limited sunshine most every day in winter you will go nuts and end up in the predicament you mention. ...Cabin fever, S.A.D., pale, crabby, bored, and out of shape.
The first and best way to put the cure into action for winter: every outdoor-loving Michigander needs a pair of all-rounder XC skis. Skiing is the #1 path to winter liberation. I enjoy 50 days of free, nearby skiing a year. That's an average of several days of worldclass skiing every week all winter. Here's a prescription that needs no pill: anywhere there's snow is GREAT for skiing. Nothing GLIDES like snow and nothing FREES you to go where you like like snow! And nothing is as simple as skiing for speed and thrill. (OK, running is simpler, but it's not as fast or thrilling.)
Cure #2: Don't forget a pair of ice skates for when we get our annual mid-winter melt followed by a refreeze the next day. When I'm not skiing, I'm skating. So I'm stuck indoors bummin' out only a mere few days out of those 5 months you mention.
History verifies our wonderful northwoods reality: for millenia winter has been *travel time*. Waterways of every single kind turn into highways. And all other trails are just as easily broken-in for glorious GLIDE. The People of the North can't be kept down -- certainly not in winter when they can finally bust loose!
Come Spring, we're in supergreat shape (without a single stinky gym session), in a totally psyched-up positive mood, and happy to continue the fun, but we do suffer snow WITHDRAWAL for weeks.
Of course, you must know that winter is warm. I haven't brought up this angle until now, coz I didn't want to go there, but one never knows these days. Some odd people say that winter is cold. It's cold if you stay indoors. It's cold if you sit still without enough clothes. If you're moving, most any apparel is warm. And if you're motionless you can enjoy the max fashion op of LOTS of apparel. Of course, you're always wearing more than the rest of the year, so it's truly the time for a clotheshorse to shine, if you're into that.
Anyway, if you ever need a guide to doing winter right, let me know -- but I'm sure there's a real winter-loving Michigander within a block of you no matter which way you turn. (And check out my lil' website for evidence: Outyourbackdoor.com ... mirrored for Michigan-only topics at Upnorthmag.com.)
Best wishes for your recovery and to never to have to read that you've
relapsed! : )