21 March 2008
An Open Letter to the State of Wisconsin
How’s it going? Things are pretty okay here, I guess. I mean, Illinois is all right and everything, even though we used to make fun of it a lot. Those were good days, huh Wisconsin? Remember? Those long lazy days of summer, when it seemed like everything was funny and nothing could go wrong? I know you’re one hundred thirty two years older than me and everything, but our age difference never seemed to be much of a big deal, back then. We were pals.
Wisconsin, I have a confession. I took you for granted. I know I did. I didn’t realize how much I cared about you until I left. I went off to Iowa and though – I know this is hard to hear Wisconsin, but it’s true – though Iowa is very lovely in its own way, and will always be dear in my heart, it was YOU that I missed, Wisconsin. Did Iowa introduce me to deep fried cheese curds and beer baseball? Does Iowa have a cave full of smurfs and towns full of trolls? Can Iowa brag about its Circus Museum & Mustard Museum? No, Wisconsin. That’s all you. Iowa doesn’t even have a professional football team, babe.
I tried to make it work, Wisconsin. I came back to you, remember? I came back. We had a whole summer full of five mile walks at midnight, the Milky Way spread thick over the quiet cornfields, wildflowers by the sides of the highway, bobbing with fireflies. Music on the Union Terrace, the colors and textures of the Farmer’s Market in June, ambling through the prairie grasses of the biggest dog park I’ve ever seen… the hills of Lacrosse and the Mississippi bluffs… Picnic Point in autumn, with merlot and burgundy leaves overhead and orange and gold at our feet…. You, Wisconsin. It was you I loved.
Okay, okay, I know I left again. What can I say? New Mexico had a certain je ne sais quois. It was exotic, all those lavender mountains and wide open skies. I never left you for very long, though, did I Wisconsin? I came back to you at least twice a year, and believe me, I thought about you a lot. Look, New Mexico’s gorgeous, but it doesn’t have your trees, Wisconsin. It doesn’t have your gorgeous autumns or your velvet summer nights. All that humidity we used to complain about? Turns out it makes for some pretty fantastic early summer mornings, the mist rising off the lake…. New Mexico doesn’t even have lakes, baby.
Look, Wisconsin, it’s always been you. You’ll always be the one I come back to. You’ll always be the one I’m talking about when I talk about home. But honestly Wisconsin? I have to admit that I’m getting pretty tired of this winter shit. I know, I know, you’re in your rebellious phase. I get it. You’re trying to punish me for leaving you. Last winter you rubbed your mild winter in my face with your 55 degree days and your sparkling turquoise lakes as I flew out of Madison for the tundra that was Albuquerque, and this year, now that I’m back, you’re nothing but snow and ice. Just like your heart, right? I get it, Wisconsin. You never were very subtle with your metaphors. But seriously, enough. Enough.
Wisconsin, it’s spring. It’s March 21, Wisconsin. It’s Easter. If you weren’t in such a snit today I would be with you RIGHT NOW, Wisconsin. That’s right! I was going to drive up today and hang out with you all weekend, did you know that? Until Monday, Wisconsin! I always spend the holidays with you, Wisconsin, you know that. Of course I was going to spend Easter with you. But no, you had to be all 8-10 inches of snow, winter driving emergencies, winter weather warnings, Dane County Sheriff’s office sending out memos begging people to stay off the roads if at all possible…. And then you drag Illinois into it? That’s pretty childish, babe.
I’m losing my patience here, Wisconsin. Look, of course I love you, but if you’re going to be nothing but winter from October 1 to April 1, then maybe it’s not worth it anymore. No, this isn’t an ultimatum… I’m just saying, Wisconsin, that… you know, I’m still friends with New Mexico, and I could always go back. I could. Cause babe, I really don’t need this right now.
Give me some sunshine & I’ll reconsider.
Love and kisses,