After jumping out and delivering a hard right cross in the first round, winter seems to have retreated back to its corner. Indeed, the post-Thanksgiving weather was balmy enough to actually enjoy the outdoors.     
 All of which bodes ill for we hardened denizens of the Northland.     
It’s confusing for us northerners to see folks walking around during the first week of December wearing shorts instead of parkas. At this time of year, our instincts urge us to pull on two pairs of socks, long johns and insulated coveralls. It’s strange to see people going about in sweatpants.      
It’s spooky to be able to drive around in December with the windows rolled down. We’re normally snuggled up to the heater with its temperature control cranked up to charbroil.
Normally, venturing forth in a car at this time of year is similar to mounting an arctic expedition. You pack your vehicle to the ceiling with emergency supplies and, as an added precaution, mentally note the locations of wayside roadkills.     
When I gaze at my cattle yard, what I see seems oddly out of place. Our Jersey steers are lounging in a snow-free dry lot, lazily soaking up solar radiation. Ordinarily at this time of year, the cattle would be standing in belly-deep snow with their tails to the wind, giving me the stink eye because they have to sleep in the barn instead of in our cozy farmhouse.     
And when the steers munch their hay during subzero weather, I know some of the fodder will be converted to body heat: heat that will be snatched from the cattle by the hyper-chilled air, warmth that will eventually dissipate into the infinite cold of outer space.     
The inherent danger of this magnificent weather is that we might begin to lose our grip on reality. We might start to think we live in a Mediterranean climate, the kind of place where winter is merely a theoretical concept, not a season of brutal chilliness.      
It would be a tragedy if that were to happen.     
We would soon forget how lucky a person is to live in a benign climate and start to think comfortable weather is our birthright. We would join wine clubs and eat kale and take up rollerblading. At parties, we would critique movies using snobbish terms like “genre” and “milieu.” We would begin to wear tight-fitting cycling shorts whether we have the hinders for it or not.      
In this balmy fantasy, one can imagine all sorts of grand developments. Major theme parks would beg to locate here. Our cities would swell and sprawl; the population of banal strip malls would explode.     
As this region becomes known as a trendy destination, we would be forced to deal with all the flotsam and jetsam that arrives with masses of humanity. 
We would begin to see more and more squeegee guys hanging around at stoplights, and a new Starbucks would spontaneously spring up every few minutes. We would find ourselves locked in eight lanes of traffic, insulated in our automotive cocoons as we all crawl toward the same nowhere.     
If that came to pass, we would soon begin to pine for the good old days.     
We would recall that winter brought out the best in us. We would remember how blizzards would invoke a sense of unity, that strangers would stop to help stranded motorists instead of zipping by as they posted about the weather on Facebook. We would reminisce about seeing stars in the night sky instead of the garish glow from a gazillion streetlights.     
We would secretly lust for a sinfully delicious ribeye as we slurp our wheatgrass smoothies. Suspicious wives would check their husband’s breath for traces of bacon. We would fondly think back to the time when a movie was either not bad or a real stinkeroo.
 We would remember how enjoying wine used to involve unscrewing the cap and swigging from the bottle instead of pouring Chateau la Snooty into dainty long-stemmed glasses. We would recall how there’s a mathematical relationship between colder temperatures and the number of squeegee guys.      
Good news is on the horizon. As I write this, the forecast predicts an arctic cold front will soon plunge into my region. Not only that – dare we hope? – snow flurries are a possibility.     
Before we know it, we will again be wallowing in the comforting misery of a good, old-fashioned winter. With any luck, we’ll be spared all the nonsense that comes with an overabundance of nice weather.     
But in any case, I’m going take advantage of the current conditions and toss a sirloin on the grill.
    Jerry is a recovering dairy farmer from Volga, South Dakota. He and his wife, Julie, have two grown sons and live on the farm where Jerry’s great-grandfather homesteaded over 110 years ago. Jerry currently works full time for the Dairy Star as a staff writer/ad salesman. Feel free to E-mail him at: jerry.n@dairystar.com.