Surviving Minnesota

Winter Hat Today’s Minnesota winter weather cycle is downright balmy compared to the brutal multi-week sub-zero days of my youth. We knew adverse weather was good for us, because that’s what the adults told us. “Hey! No complaining. It’s good for you. Keeps you strong. Builds character!”

We were strong. And we somehow survived without the evolved “science” of meteorology. Looking through photo albums, I see we were not only strong, but also, scrawny, no doubt from wearing an extra 50-pounds of clothing in order to survive the trek to school.


"Meteorknowledgist" or Fear Monger?

Winter LabelSay “Minnesota”, and I think “weather”. And even though I haven’t lived there for almost 20 years, weather is still the filter through which memories flow. The Minnesota Historical Society’s homage, Weather Permitting sounds like it would be an interesting exhibit, documenting Minnesota’s weather challenges over the years.

Minnesotans tend to be obsessed about the weather forecasts …insatiable need to stay on top of weather conditions. Viewers have remained glued to their screens as the science of forecasting has evolved…backed by the science of Doppler radar. Minnesota Historical Society

Then again, “obsessed about weather forecasts”? That’s not the Minnesota I knew.


Cold is Relative

When we first moved to New England, I felt overwhelmed by the “locals” fascination toward all-things-weather. Within minutes of arriving at our new home, on a beautiful New England fall day, neighbors who greeted us didn’t waste time noticing our California license plates.

Skipping the usual niceties, the husband chortled, going for the jugular – the weather vein, “Whoa! Hey! California! Oh, you are SO going to freeze this winter.” Ha ha ha hahaha. Ha.

My attempts to ally their concerns, “Well, you know, we both grew up in Minnesota….”, were ignored. Misery loves company, and they were determined to make me as miserable as they were. The temptation to fall back into weather-fatalism – dreading every day, because it meant winter-was-one-step-closer – was not how I wanted to live my life.

I can understand confusion on their part, that Californians would swap ideal weather conditions, moving to New England, something I also found confusing. I decided, though, to view the joking as just a good-natured, socially-odd way to get to know someone.


Surviving Meteorologists

Overstuffed Snowsuit Small When Minnesota winter temperatures dropped, sometimes as low as -50F, with -75F windchill, I habitually asked my parents to remind me, “why we left Florida”, moving back to Minnesota. For many years, they patiently answered, “So we could live by your grandparents – be around family”.

Their reply always seemed a bit wistful, not said straight-on, looking me in the eyes, but instead, glancing out the window to the frozen landscape. It didn’t help that a huge conch shell, they’d found on an “exquisite and beautiful Florida beach”, held a place of honor in the livingroom curio cabinet. Pressed against my ear, it filled my head with more than ocean sounds, instead, creating discontentment. (Phil 4:11).