What an embarrassment! What humiliation for St. Paul, Minnesota: Winter Carnival without snow! How quickly a carefully cultivated public image can be shattered by unseasonably and unreasonably warm temperatures.

Before God rested from his creative labors he made winter. And we who live in St. Paul said, “It is good.” We delight in winter’s wonders and virtues. The pesky mosquitoes may keep us indoors during the fortunately brief days of summer, but it is in winter that God has called us to play out of doors. Below-zero temperatures and mounds of snow from Thanksgiving to Income Tax Day spare us the nuisance of lawn mowing. Instead, we cavort and exult in Winter Carnival season, complete with icefishing derbies, sled-dog races, ice palaces, snow queens, and two parades. (Eat your hearts out, Pasadena and New Orleans!)

At least, that is the way a Minnesota winter is supposed to be. But, alas, not this year. As I write this, my city has egg all over its civic pride. Balmy temperatures and an absence of snow threaten to make St. Paul just another Fort Lauderdale.

We hate to admit this, but we have been forced to haul in snow from Iowa or some such place just so we can hold the Winter Carnival’s famous snow-sculpture contests. But now even these magnificent snow figures, displaying such artistry and imagination, are dripping away. How sad. How fleeting. How temporary.

As I watch these sculptors—some from as far away as Japan—work with the snow, their dedication and determination are apparent. Most have carefully planned out their intended design and committed it to paper. Years of practice and thorough preparation lie behind their work. Attention to detail and exacting standards characterize their ...

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