Monday, April 19, 2010

19 April 2010 – Speaking of Minnesota

This past weekend my dad put out the dock. I realize that I may be thousands of miles from the site of this event, separated by an ocean and by a dense cloud of volcanic ash. By writing about this, I deviate from my typical entry style…I’ll justify this post out of sentiment.

A dock symbolizes summer in Minnesota. When most of the year is spent hidden indoors, trying to avoid the harsh weather conditions, Minnesotans use docks as an opportunity to flaunt the few warm months. During the summer the dock becomes a secondary residence, serving not just as a place to park your boat but also as a place to fish, dive, tan, and get drunk. I can’t fathom the number of hours I spent casting a spoon off my parent’s dock, not trying to catch a trophy walleye but instead wanting an excuse to be on the dock.

The Miller family has always been into their docks. For example, my grandparents took pride in having the longest dock on their side of the lake. When their neighbor threatened to install a longer dock, my dad and grandfather spent the entire summer building an artificial peninsula to place the dock. Apparently buying a longer dock never crossed their mind.

Anyways, I mention my dad “getting the dock out” because it was always such a special, annual event. Even since moving out of my parent’s roughly a decade ago, I have still received a message from them each year when they put in the dock. This year was extra special as it was the earliest date that my dad ever completed the task (yes, we keep track of the dates each year). As prior civilizations used the position of the stars to tell them when the new season has begun, my family has used the installation of the dock to represent the start of summer. Perhaps this year’s early installation is a sign of climate change or of the validation of the Mayan’s prophesies (Icelandic volcano?). More realistically, I think it means that summer has come early. Be happy.

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