Winter in Indiana

Winter in Indiana

George W. Sledge, MD, FASCO

Feb 04, 2011

I am a proud son of the American Midwest--raised in Wisconsin, living in Indiana--and have never felt any of the angst those on the two coasts imagine preoccupies those doomed to live here in Flyover country. I love the countryside, as flat and boring as it is, and I love the seasons, and yes (this is Indiana, after all) I love corn.

The only thing I don't love is a couple of weeks in the middle of the Winter. They are here, in all their brutal splendor. Depending on what part of the state you lived in this week, you were either buried in snow or drowned in a freezing rain. Indianapolis suffered the latter. There is an inch of ice or more on my driveway, and the street in front of my house is easily mistaken for an ice rink. A blowing cold that froze one to the marrow under a grey sky designed to induce Seasonal Affective Disorder rounded things out yesterday. The medical school campus closed for the past two days, and my colleague Anna Maria Storniolo, on service this month, slept at the campus hotel rather than risk her well-being on our icy roads.

That was earlier this week. I am in a plane heading for San Diego by way of DFW. The sun came out today, almost blinding in its brilliance, and from the air southern Indiana is a patchwork quilt of black trees and white, snow-covered fields. Quite lovely to behold. I can almost imagine that Spring is on the way, even if the wind chill hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit this morning.

I suspect that those who live in places without real seasons (like always-temperate San Diego, where I fly) have no real appreciation for Spring. But Midwesterners are passionate about it. I always found it bizarre that T.S. Eliot (a son of the homeland himself) could pen that ridiculous line about April being the cruelest month. What on earth was he thinking? Someone should have staked him out in any of my neighbor's back yards this week. A day or two and he would have been singing April's praises. This is assuming that the weight of ice on a power line didn't cause it to fall and electrocute him.

Anyways, on that cheery salute to a dead poet, I'll sign off for now. I see the Ohio River drifting by some 25,000 feet below. Northern Kentucky seems remarkably free of snow. Spring can't come too soon.


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Luis Fernando Venegas, MD

Feb, 14 2011 7:44 AM

Dear Professor:
Thanks for remember these little (?!) things.
You certainly can´t remember me. I was a temporary fellow from Brazil in 1996, indicated by James Fleck.
I really missed our rounds, and the quality of our discussions, and the cold... I'll never forget IU and the people I met there.
Luis Fernando Venegas  

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