My mother used to say this in the years my sister and I attended the UN School in New York: I gave up the possibility of owning a mink coat so that you could go to a good school. (The message was: you better make it count.)
I felt badly for her. She was frugal -- sewed her own clothes, wore costume jewelry, but she really appeared to covet the mink. Coat, stole -- however it presented itself, she wanted it. I suppose in the 1960s, mink was the ultimate symbol of success. Sort of like a huge LCD screen is these days.
So I grew up believing that mink was a huge deal – a rare animal that ladies seemed to want (in the dead version) to sling across their shoulder, sometimes with paws and other extremities still in tact.
Alright, let me say a few words about this day: the skies are blue, the air is gentle, the temps shoot up to the low forties. I step out this morning thinking – why am I not riding the bike to work? (The short answer is that the bike is dirty from a winter rest in the condo garage and the tires are low on air.)
I decide to walk to campus. An hour along the lake front path. What could be better!
And I am rewarded – with my first sighting of crocuses...
...and with a secretive peek at the wildlife that inhabits the shores of a (still partially frozen) Lake Mendota.
There is the muskrat....
...and an animal that someone on the shore tells me is a weasel.
A weasel? Like, an animal baring a coat of mink fur??
Much of the ice that covered the lake all winter long has melted. But some remains firmly in place.
Though it doesn’t fool me any. There is nothing in the air that feels like winter. We’re onto a different kettle of fish here.