This is what April 17 looks like in central Minnesota. It is a view out the window of the guest house of St. John's Abbey, in Collegeville, a large Benedictine monastery. In summertime you would see a nice blue pond in the middle distance; now it's still frozen.
If you happen to be in the vicinity, I will be at an event tonight with Gary Eichten, long-time Minnesota Public Radio host and editor, at the College of St. Benedict / St. John's University. The program begins at 8 pm. That, as I understand it, is the standard schedule for night events at CSBSJU, allowing the monks time to finish their evening prayers.
James Fallows is a staff writer for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, which has been a New York Times best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.