We’re all in big trouble, you know. No doubt about it. I did it, you did it, the whole eastern half of the state did it. We all broke it–it’s the dead of winter and we all broke dormancy.

The people doing the Neilsons over the past few weeks must have already put a footnote next to mid-January’s stats. It probably reads something like: “It was so nice, everyone stopped cocooning and went outside–even at night.”

Which is why we’re all in trouble.

You know the other day when it dropped into the high 50s and you thought “buurrr?” Well, that was only about 15 degrees off normal. Chalk it up to residual Calvinism, but winter, friends, is going to hit us like a brick.

We’ll survive, of course, but expect to be cranky. It’s the plants that are really going to have a time of it. Buds are swelling all over and a big snap, when it comes, is going to do a little more than nip. This week we’re expected to slide from the 70s to the 40s with nights in the 20s. That’s going to turn those saucer magnolias to mush along with the Bradford pears (which I think are overdone these days anyway) and a lot of fruit trees. Cherry pie futures must be going through the roof.

It’s all necessary, though. Keep telling yourself that. We need the cold. Yeah, that’s right. We need it to, uh, keep things from getting too moldy and keep the skeeters down. And the ice and slush, well, we need that for sled-riding and doing donuts in parking lots. What would America be without those things? Very, very dull.

So snap out of it. Put down that rake and start closing the storm windows again. It’s time to head back to the cave and watch the fire flicker.