The Ratio of Ick to Glory


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I live in one of the American States in an area vaguely designated as the Upper Midwest. It’s not so northerly to suggest all Paul Bunyan all the time. And not mid-westernly enough to call up images of cornfields, wheat and the occasional soybean.

My state has so much to commend it!  Rolling hills. Picturesque farms. Colby Jack cheese. And many bodies of water.

The problem is this:
There are only two months of the year during which I can fully, without encumbrances, enjoy and participate in the Great Outdoors.

June is one. Many folks remain outdoors for the 30 days June hath.
With good reason. We seldom need buckets of citronella, pallets of Deep Woods Off
or thousands of dollars of homeopathic insect repellents. But that day comes soon enough.
Because a primary function of some bodies of water making my Upper Midwest state so appealing is mosquito hatcheries.
They perform it admirably, and from July through September, my fellow statesmen and I don Deet, erect screen houses, engage in the state dance (The Mosquito Swat, Slap and Sidestep) and cower indoors after dusk like the residents of Transylvania avoiding Count Dracula. Because often, mosquitoes don’t depart till October.

Speaking of October, it is the other month that beckons us upper Midwesterners
with open arms. “Come outside,” this tenth month calls. “Leave behind your insect repellent, your Uggs, your mosquito netting and your fuzzy mittens.”



Isn’t October pretty?

Like June, it compels us to spend the entire month outdoors.
Because we know that the months of November through May often bring this:


We are either anticipating the above dump of white, living through it, or cleaning up after it in those 7 months.

But we endure. Because we anticipate June and clasp memories of October to our hearts.


Friends who may consider a move to the Upper Midwest, know this:
The ratio here of ick to glory is 10:12. That is 5/6th of a year we can’t head outside without layers of outerwear or layers of insect repellent.
Is it worth the struggle?  Mathematically the odds are against us.
But aesthetically it can’t be beat.


6 thoughts on “The Ratio of Ick to Glory

  1. So true about the state dance, thanks to mosquitoes!

    But if someone could figure out how to have the beauty of winter–the snow and frost and cross country skiing–without the cold, then the “ick to glory” ratio would drastically change!

    And spring has potential . . . but often disappoints with its rainy cold and dreariness. How many of my kids’ baseball, softball, and soccer games did I endure in such weather, huddled under a blanket on the bleachers?

    Anyhow, my favorite Wisconsin months are June, July, August, and September. For the beauty and the warmth. I will not let those pesky mosquitoes ruin it for me. 🙂

    • You are a brave woman! I do like summer, it is just hard to enjoy without batting away bugs! Actually I enjoy all seasons—it’s just that so few days don’t require some sort of outerwear, umbrellas or something to cope with bugs. I

    • I do love these four seasons. Even though it snowed last at our annual apple orchard outing yesterday! (in October, incidentally. That’ll teach me to make unconditional statements.) Ick wasn’t the right word for the rest of the year—I think I meant it as clickbait :). But at least where I live, there are very few days can I spend the whole time outdoors without either jacket/coat/down blanket or some sort of insect repellent.

      • That’s true, of course. But I can’t think of any place I’d care to live where one can be outdoors all day, every day without protection of some sort, whether sunscreen/bug repellent or down parka/winter boots. Nothing good comes without a price, I guess. 🙂

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