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February 6, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST
I spent the first 21 years of my life in Iowa, including eight semesters of college about 10 miles from the Minnesota border. Spring is a rarely witnessed mythological creature in my home state. Those who live there might catch a glimpse of it prematurely lurking behind the trees as it tempts the earth to awaken again, only to retreat until late May.
Like the “expectations vs. reality” scene in 500 Days of Summer, a montage of an Iowa spring might portray the idyllic daydream of a picnic under a towering oak tree as it blooms by the end of March, but the audience knows that, actually, the branches remain bare. And it’s sleeting.
I recall shivering during outdoor prom photos, the grass crunching beneath my numb toes. I spent Easters as a kid hunting for colored eggs in snow pants and watched my hometown’s May Tulip Festival parade while wrapped in blankets to endure the freezing rain.
Last year was my first spring in Missouri, and it proved warmer than what I’m used to. I remember a day in January when I reported a story in the small river town of Lupus, Mo., with only a light jacket and the sun sparkling across the Big Muddy. But as the Vox staff edited our annual Spring Preview this week, an issue painted with pastels and springy bird adorations, we also experienced this year’s first big winter storm.
Perhaps our snowed-in readers aren’t thinking of getting out on the town for the best warm-weather events quite yet. I can relate. I also know that the first day we can open our windows and let the fresh air expel the stale smell of winter, the moment will be even sweeter because we’ve survived. Whenever you’re ready, take on our guide to local concerts, plays, festivals, sporting events and more. What spring weather lacks in predictability, Vox makes up for in consistency.