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The end of all things

Only those of us who live in this place understand the insincerity of death.
Too much we love the wild, eager summer. 
Even so - Minnesotans are ever-ready for the next tornado, hail storm, blizzard.
We expect the worst and are seldom disappointed. 
No matter how lovely the moment, how elegant the day - the end of all things is always near and we know it. 
People who visit in spring are shocked to see us half-naked, tanning on half-frozen roof tops.   
We don’t care what you think.  Our summer sunshine is our liquid gold; rare, fleeting and precious. 
For six, eight brief weeks each year, we chase the light - wherever it leads.
Our lakes were carved by glaciers, but we don’t mind.  We flock to them like the geese and loons we love.  
Only wild birds do what we do for fun. 
If a decent lake is too far away, we lounge beside an underused, over-budget swimming pool owned by one of our municipalities, YMCAs or neighbors. 
For one brief, shining season we fish, we swim,  tear around on crazy water contraptions and imagine we live year-long in California.

We tear around on crazy water contraptions. 

But we are not deceived.  
Our frolic is frivolous, our grand and glorious fun is short lived - and we know it.
How could we not? As predictable as sunrise and rainfall, our feeble summers collapse under the harsh winds of October. Our good times die with a whimper and without apology. 
It matters not to us.  Minnesotans are simple, strong and we know the truth.  
Everything has a beginning and an end.  Everything, a span of time never to our liking.  The grass dies, the flower fades. 
Today I received a message from a Sugar Maple. 
Uninvited, with a touch of decay - the wretched piece of death landed on my cold, grey sidewalk.  
Uninvited, with a touch of early decay. 
I ignored the warning and picked a bouquet from my fading garden. 
It might be the last.  It might not. 
Beaten back by late summer storms, nourished by the harsh rains of July and the strong sunshine of August, my flowers are like the rest of us - ready for the comforting invitation of autumn. 
The sweet, inevitable winds of death. 
And the sure, certain return of summer. 
Until next year - - stay warm! 

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