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My, what a long, long, long winter we've had

In Our Opinion


We recently exited quite a winter.

It was snowy, cold and long. In some ways it lingers.

From a celestial standpoint, winter began Dec. 21, 2016, but some might argue it was earlier, on Nov. 9.

Regardless, the past 100 or so days have combined to produce an outbreak of “cabin fever” that has been hard to break, and for many reasons.

According to the National Weather Service, the first snow arrived on Dec. 9 and never left until George Washington’s Birthday, Feb. 22, a total of 76 long days. Through April 1 we were blessed — or cursed — with 61 inches of the “white stuff,” with 45 the average.

We had a rare 13 days of freezing rain recorded and did our best impression of Seattle with just two officially sunny days in January and February according to the weather folks at Wazzu.

Shall we continue?

It’s been water, water everywhere, without a drop to drink. The snow was bolstered by a water table that had saturated the soil early with record fall rains and turned fields everywhere to massive lakes.

Or lengthy periods of flood-stage for rivers and creeks everywhere, it seemed. The fast-moving water washed out many a road, or the soggy soil simply could hold no more and broke lose from hillsides in the form of landslides that have either covered roads or undermined their structural integrity.

Had enough?

Finally, maybe, hopefully — once the April showers of rain, snow, hail and grapple end sometime before, say, August — we will be able to experience some minor warmth that sometimes is a part of spring in these parts and see some of the proverbial May flowers.

Spring officially began March 20, but don’t tell that to area coaches, many who have hardly had enough practice time outside on dry fields to prepare for one of the busiest times of the year.

But the season has been an equal-opportunity villain, affecting virtually every community east of the Cascades.

While we’re told all this will help in easing problems with water supply, something must be remembered out on the West Plains.

Our complex aquifer, where somehow water is able to percolate through hundreds of feet of thick volcanic basalt, collects life-giving liquid sparingly. And, unlike the multiple fire hose-like Spokane aquifer, this one gives back like the soft spray from the garden hose.

Once the weather does warm, and the precipitation does stop, what follows will likely be rampant lush growth of vegetation. That, in turn, will eventually turn dry and brown and be a potential risk for fire.

The depressing thoughts never end, huh?

As much as many of us do venture out in winter and enjoy what it has to offer, we’ve all still likely spent too much time indoors the past several months. That means possibly being stuck watching television and reading.

That’s hardly a good way to lift any funk.

But with mornings slowly conjuring up more light early, and a later sunset — regardless of whether it’s cloudy or there’s a rare glimpse of the sun — one of the best cures around for afflictions associated with seasonal affective disorder is quite simple.

Take a walk and get some fresh air.

Morning, noon or night, a stroll is a simple escape from the news, which can be troubling and depressing, or Facebook, which can be the same. Even the occasional whiff of fireplace smoke might not be all that bad anymore?

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