by Kim Rensch
It’s not rare for North Dakotans to get asked how we tolerate winter. Those winters that are six months long. The heavy snowfalls. The cold blasts of air. The gray skies for days on end. The brutal wind. Truth be told, many North Dakotans themselves probably wonder why they stick around for the cruelest season. But I think I know why. There’s something magical that comes out of winter. It’s not a magic accompanied by waves of a wand or flashes of light. It sneaks up on us over weeks, so slowly it’s hardly perceptible. It comes after the snow melts and the spring rains wash away the grit of sand and salt, sprayed down to keep cars safe on the road, and the dirt that the prairie wind swept in and deposited over the winter months. The magic comes in hushed tones, poking its head out of the ground in the trumpeted shape of a daffodil; reaching out from the ends of limbs, stretching and sprawling from winter hibernation until a green bud springs forth; reaching up from dormant grass roots, preparing for another season of growing and mowing. This magic dawns on us when we turn the corner for home and look up the street and realize that our landscape is no longer brown, and we don’t know when that happened. All we know is that we’re glad we stuck through the winter because this magic was worth the wait.