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Rogers: Late winter blues have me thinking warm thoughts

Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014 8:30 p.m. CDT

Sometimes the slightest things can fire off new thoughts in our minds; thoughts that we anxiously await. Thoughts that soon dominate our reality and make us yearn for a change. When it warmed up this past week to above freezing temperatures my thoughts turned to spring.  

Of course, we are all getting worn down by this record setting winter, but until that sunshine hit and my face didn’t freeze shut, I hadn’t really focused on spring. I knew it would be a long time before it arrived. I am ready now.

As I walked to my garage this week, without my coat zipped, I actually thought of mowing grass. I know that is a strange thought. I’m sure I will fully regret it later this summer, but I’m beginning to wonder what green grass looks like. In fact, I’m kind of forgetting what dead, brown grass looks like. It’s been so long since I have seen any.

I also have been anticipating the start of baseball season. The big league clubs have all reported to their spring training locales. Local high schools and colleges are all in the midst of their indoor practice sessions. Hopefully we will see the “boys of spring” taking to those fields soon.

Then, in my mailbox this week came two of my many outdoors magazines. One cover was sporting a giant turkey, and the other was showing an angler wrestling with a behemoth largemouth. If I was teetering on the edge of being done with winter, then those two pictures sent me hurtling right toward the desire for warm weather. It’s official. The snow can now melt and stay hidden for ten more months.  

The photos on those covers caused me to start daydreaming. When I think of walking into the spring woods in the early morning hours, my senses burst with stimuli. The dew makes the world damp and fresh. You can fill your lungs with that clean, outdoors aroma that many candle manufacturers have attempted to copy, but never quite can. Only Mother Nature has the recipe for that springtime sensation.

Then, as I sit quietly, the sounds start to take shape. The nighttime critters are lulling to sleep while the creatures of the day are waking up and letting everyone know it. The last of the Great Horned owls can be heard hooting, hopefully, interrupted by a thunderous gobble from a nearby roost.

As the sun creeps from beyond the eastern horizon, the scene turns from grays and blacks to the most brilliant shades of green and blue. Yes, springtime is turkey time.

Then, as quickly as my mind had drifted into the turkey woods, it races to the front deck of a bass boat. Now my senses feel the hot summer sun cooking down on my back. My legs, finally revealed by wearing shorts, are absorbing the heat and getting darker with each passing day. The water, released from its icy captor, is free to move, swirl and undulate with a rhythmic pulse that has captivated mankind since the beginning of time. 

Just like that, I can feel the line peeling off the reel in a smooth, effortless cast. The lure slides into the crystal surface leaving the slightest of ripples. The anticipation of a strike is almost too much to bear. When it finally does happen, instincts take over and whip the rod back and set the hook. The fight unfolds and soon, another bucketmouth is hoisted from the depths to be appreciated, admired and finally released back to the abyss.

Oh yes, the days are getting longer. The sun’s rays offer the slightest bit more warmth than they did just a short time ago. Winter’s grip is loosened with each passing moment. Even though she may recapture her hold a time or two more, she will yield. Until that day my friends, think warm thoughts. You have earned it this year.

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