Beautiful Ohio

I’m reading my compensation book outside on a Thursday evening, mower buzzing away in the background while my dog pants at my feet. A hummingbird, attracted by my pink shirt, thought she’d come in for a quick drink, shot back, and decided to feast on the blooming columbines instead. Ah, spring in Ohio.

Central Ohio’s had a bad rap this spring. Too much rain. Too much wind. Too much rain. Repeat. The area is also known to be a bit temperamental in her climactic preferences. One day flirting with summer, the next day snuggled down with winter. She’s a bit flighty that way.

As a lifelong central Ohio resident, I think I’ve just become immune to most of it. I can only imagine what a sunny transplant from San Diego must have felt this past spring wondering if the sun would ever shine or the gray skies would ever clear. But that’s just life here. And if you are considering Ohio State, it’s something to keep in mind. Yes, we do have shorts weather and long-coat weather. But there are some days when the sky is a perfect blue, the wind doesn’t purr and the humidity keeps itself in check that are just as beautiful as anything you’d feel anywhere in the world. That’s the Ohio I love.

So what should a student do when faced with a few fleeting days of gorgeous Ohio weather? Go take a hike! The Hocking Hills in southeast Ohio are post-card scenic. About an hour’s drive southeast of Columbus, the state park is a wonderland of hiking trails, rivers, and the famous Old Man’s Cave. There are places to zip line, canoe, picnic, camp or just lounge under a hemlock canopy.

Closer to home, Franklin County Metro Parks are well-maintained, free natural wonderlands in the center of urban sprawl. One of my favorite parks, Slate Run, features a 19th century farm with cattle, chickens, lambs, hogs and various other creatures. I have a particular affection for this park because part of my father’s family once lived in that very farmhouse. As a child, my father grew up in a different house, which has since been demolished, that was near the present-day park entrance. The rented home, featuring modern amenities, such as an out house, offered cold comfort in the winter time. As my dad likes to say, it was so cold in the house that the medicine he kept in his bedroom for his rabbits froze one night. How could I ever whine about central heating?

Campus itself is an oasis of natural beauty. Anyone who has ever studied by Mirror Lake on a clear morning with few students around could understand why this natural spring attracted university founders to this very site. And, of course, there is the Oval. This is Columbus’ Central Park. I’m not sure if the main attraction from my undergrad days–Jed the preacher–still makes the rounds, but the Frisbee players, sunbathers, book readers and dog lovers still chillax on sunny afternoons.

There are only a few weeks left of spring quarter, but there’s still time to get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts. Soon enough tropical humidity and Midwest heat will drive us back into indoor comfort.