Why I Live in Iowa

Well first of all, I don’t live here because of the weather.

Ah, the weather in Iowa. I saw something once that described Iowa’s weather as “four glorious seasons,” and while it’s true they can be glorious, mid-March pretty much obliterates all of the accumulated glory.

The middle of March in Iowa is one of the dreariest, grayest, wettest, slushiest experiences imaginable. Winter hasn’t let up yet, there usually are still one or two heavy snowfalls left to go, and the ground is covered with filthy slush and muck, sand and salt, all the grime of the winter-long attempts to keep the roads passable.

March in Iowa is the time of year when I curse my Scandinavian ancestry, and wish my ancient relatives from Sweden and Norway hadn’t found the weather in this part of North America to be quite so comforting and hospitable.

March in Iowa makes me wish I had been raised in a warmer, sunnier culture and clime, one of those countries where everyone is seemingly born knowing how to salsa dance, instead of my Scandinavian roots, with our dour work ethic and our pragmatism and our reticence, and my enduring inability to dance until I’ve had at least four drinks.

So I don’t live in Iowa because of the weather. Although this summer has been one of the coolest, driest, most delicious summers of my life, and autumn is lovely as well, and spring is incredibly exciting every year – I always forget how good it feels to be able to walk around outside without a jacket – and frankly, there are a lot of things about winter that I enjoy as well – I like the coziness of winter, I like snuggling up with my wife in front of the TV, I like ice skating, I like eating chili and popcorn and oven baked sweet potatoes, and I love the lack of yard work, the lack of insects, and the general lack of pressure to do anything at all – it’s like having three months of permission to not leave the house unless you really need to; you don’t have to feel guilty about not being physically active and involved with the world, you can just write it off by saying, “Hey, it’s winter.”

Come to think of it, maybe I actually do live in Iowa because of the weather.

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