Best Sign of Spring (2011)

Sunken pickup trucks

Winter in the Twin Cities is very nearly endless, so Minnesotans have a keen eye for the first indications that that fleeting tease of habitability we call summer might be on its way. Everybody has a favorite tip-off that winter is lifting its heavy-booted foot off our throats: that first crack of the bat, brave crocuses pushing up above the last snow, or the first red-breasted robin hunting for worms in the soggy pudding that was once a lawn. If we're being honest with ourselves, though, those are some pretty low-stakes signs of spring. They don't really speak to the awesome force of seasonal change in the face of mankind's impotence and folly. For that, nothing beats the stretch in late March and early April every year when local TV news becomes positively choked with accounts of people's trucks falling through the thinning ice on the lakes where they were inexplicably parked. There's just something about the recurring footage of submerged pickups getting winched out of murky water that makes our hearts leap with joy. It speaks to the promise of seasonal renewal, and to the indomitable refusal of human beings to stop being stupid.


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