An Open Letter To Winter

An Open Letter To Winter

I love you, winter, but you can be harsh.
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Winter,

The time has come where the temperature starts to fall and snow starts to pile up. Though it happens every year, we never seem ready for all that winter brings. I harbor mixed feelings about winter, and what better way to express them than a letter?

First off, I have to be honest and say you’re beautiful. The way you cover the trees and make everything seem peaceful can be so breathtaking. You turn Michigan into a wonderful snow globe and I can’t deny how pretty you are. The problem is, you bring the cold with you. When I walk to class, I prefer to be able to see and breath. You tend to make everyone sick, and I’m not ready to have a runny nose 24/7. I’m also not prepared for the multiple-month commitment that you bring.

I loved you so much when I was younger, and I have great memories of you. Building snowmen, making forts, having snowball fights, and sledding were a blast, and I loved playing in the snow until my fingers felt like they might freeze off. But as I grew up, you started to complicate things. You make driving way more difficult than it needs to be, and you force me to clean my car off and shovel my driveway, which is just not a good time.Though I do agree that some people forget how to drive in the winter, it can still get seriously dangerous when you freeze them over.

I know I can’t complain because I chose to live in a state that is literally shaped like a winter accessory, but please be kind to us this winter. Don’t be too harsh, but if you’re choosing to give us a ton of snow, please make sure it’s on the day that I have a lot of classes!

Don’t get me wrong; there are some really great things about you. You bring the holidays with you and Christmas is always more special with snow. Plus, the people who love skiing and snowboarding are on cloud nine when you come around. I’m just not ready to say goodbye to the sunshine, or to sweat on the way to class because I’m wearing 18 layers.

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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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6 Ways You Can DIY an Outdoor Hangout This Summer

Turn that tiny cement square of a "patio" into a place you can actually relax.

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Summer is here, which means you're done with classes and ready to get outside. There's so much you can do during the summer you can't do in any other season, especially when you're dealing with a full load of courses during the school year.

Hanging around outside with your friends can help make the kind of memories that will stick with you long after you graduate, and even be therapeutic. Relaxing or doing something fun outside can also recharge you for the coming semester.

Most of what you can do outside depends on where you live and what's around you. If you're in the mountains, you can hike all day long or go rafting. Living by the beach means you can jump in the surf or tan until the sun goes down.

Cities provide a space to roam and people-watch. But that all means you need to travel somewhere to have fun, which means paying for gas or even for the entertainment. On a college student's budget, that's not always possible.

Instead, why not make a DIY outdoor hangout this summer? You can have fun outside in the space you made, which will save you time and money.

No matter what your outdoor space looks like, you can create a place to fit whatever you want to do.

Read up on some ideas for inspiration and then get going. Your summer fun might be only minutes away.

Whether you have a patio or just a patch of grass behind your apartment, there are plenty of things you can try to make the perfect hangout spot for your friends.

Decorate with lots of colors or hang a hammock up for a few hours. You don't need to have your own pool or be able to host a neighborhood barbecue to do something fun.

Make a reading nook for yourself or a nice place to enjoy a meal. Whatever you decide to do, your outdoor hangout space is going to rock.

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Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

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