If a thermostat had an opinion, I hate to guess what mine thinks of me. Here it is the middle of April and already we’ve celebrated the earliest shutdown of our heat plant in recent memory, turned on the air conditioning at least once, shut down the whole thing for weeks at a time and lived with open windows in March as if it was middle May.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love balmy weather. In fact years ago while in San Diego in August I commented that the climate was near perfect for late summer and was corrected by a local resident. “It’s like this all year long,, he said. Wow, I thought, how great would that be?
But on second thought it occurred to me that springtime in Kentucky can often be a magical time. The blooms that preview the run for the roses bring joy to the good folks of Kentucky after a dark and dreary winter.
And I thought, there is something quite moving in that verse from “My Old Kentucky Home” when we remember lazy summer days with corn tops ripe and meadows all in bloom.
And though there doesn’t seem to be as much of it around Christmas as I remember from my childhood, being tucked in with a peaceful white snowfall flocking the spruce trees and the holly is certainly something special. It gives us here in Kentucky the chance to live a Currier and Ives moment now and then which a perpetually perfect temperature like San Diego’s could never do.
Oh yes we hate ice storms, and tornadoes and heat and humidity. We grow tired of mowing the lawn, shoveling snow and driving in the rain. We complain about mosquitos and raking leaves and very few of us like spending money to water the lawn, but on another level, if we didn’t have things to complain about what would we do?
In places like San Diego they miss all the changes and end up complaining about things like how much new shoes cost. In places with perfect weather alfalfa isn’t a deep green forage crop cured to a perfect moisture content and fed to multi-million dollar thorobreds in bales. Alfalfa is the first word in “Alfalfa sprouts” which is a hair like fuzz ball of grass seed shoots fed to health conscious roller bladers usually in a little clump on top of a curry chicken salad in a whole wheat soft tortilla. I like that kind of alfalfa too, but I also like my seasons.
It’s just that some of the transitions we have can be a bit frustrating. For example, this past week my lovely bride took the time to put all of our sweaters and warmer clothing in the big coffin sized cedar chest and broke out the cargo shorts and short sleeved shirts with picture of margaritas on them. And it was just in time for barely above freezing temps to blow through with the kind of north wind that somehow or another finds its way all the way inside your BVD’s. I found myself kicking on the furnace this morning and caught the whiff of wood smoke from a neighbors stove. I thought we were in Derby hat season!
But I don’t want to complain too loudly. I love Kentucky. Nowhere else can you see a play in a beautiful theater one night and the next morning drive a few easy miles and trout fish in a secluded stream.
Where else can you walk in the footsteps of America’s first pioneers and plop down in the Kentucky Theater to enjoy acoustic music at the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour with people listening along with you thousands of miles away?
Nowhere are there more miles of navigable waters in any of the states except Alaska, or natural river cut gorges, or so many miles of bridle trails or the delightful mix of real southern cooking right next to modern cuisine.
We produce the best Bourbon in the world, the fastest horses, we preserve our heritage and we are home to renowned public leaders.
I like to visit places like San Diego, I enjoy a break from the winters on occasion, a break from the dog days of summer and I wish my yard would cut itself. But when I look out the window at the deep blue skies of a late spring cold snap, even as I kick on the furnace one thing is clear.
There’s no place like Kentucky and thank God for putting me here.
Marcus Carey is a Northern Kentucky lawyer with 32 years experience. He is also a farmer, talk radio host and public speaker who loves history and politics. He is a prolific and accomplished writer whose blog, BluegrassBulletin.com is “dedicated to honest and respectful comment on the political and cultural issues of our time.” He writes a regular commentary for KyForward.