Falling in Love with Winter (again)

Recent snowfalls in Minnesota have had locals talking about the weather. It is a favorite pastime here in the North Star State. In fact, if there was a competitive event in weather talk, I’m sure Minnesotans would be top contenders, if not winners. I think it’s because of the diversity of our seasons; we get a lot of variety in the weather department. We could compete in several categories, including flooding rainfalls, unbearable humidity, tornadoes, ice storms, sub-zero cold snaps, and blizzards.

Winter is, perhaps, the season we discuss the most. It can be (very) cold, windy, and icy. There can be many feet of snow. Sometimes it accumulates slowly, over time. Other years it dumps down in one day, causing a lot of problems (driving, getting to work…). Stranded at home or work during a heavy snow is called being “snowed in.” Anyone remember the 1991 Halloween blizzard? It was a mega-storm!

Anyway, if you live in Minnesota, you must deal with winter. That brings me to my topic: falling in love with winter. I find many adults do not have any warm fuzzy feelings for the cold months. There seems to be more winter-haters than winter-lovers. Although, I’ve never found a child who doesn’t enjoy winter.

Kids love winter!

Recently, I had a conversation with a young man. I was working with him, and it was cold outside, following a snow. He commented about how much he hates winter. A Minnesota native and he claimed to abhor the season. Too cold, icy roads, snow… not for him. Hmm. It got me thinking.

I’m amazed when I hear a born-and-raised Minnesotan express disdain for wintertime. I wondered why some folks hate the season and others (like me) love it. Of course, there are those who are indifferent, I’m sure, but I’ve never met them.

Later, I asked my winter-hating coworker if he liked the season as a kid. “No,” was his quick reply. Then, he paused and said, “I guess I did. I used to love building forts.” Bingo! My theory was proving true: Kids love winter. I think the reason is because there are so many wonderful things to do during wintertime in the way of fun and kids love to have fun!

I spent hour upon hour playing outside during wintertime as a kid. My snowsuit and boots were always near the radiator so they could dry before my next outing. My siblings and I covered all bases during wintertime. Between the eight of us we skied, ice skated, snowshoed, played hockey, ice fished, built forts and snow people, had snowball fights, went sliding down hills, snowmobiled… I’m sure there are one or two events missing, but you get the idea. We were kids and we loved winter!

One brother and I were forever challenging each other. “I dare you to…” was a common phrase between the two of us. We also held contests. A popular winter competition was when the two of us would go outside in bare feet and see who could stand in the snow the longest without running inside. I honestly don’t remember who won. I will say, though, I still step outside in bare feet during wintertime for various reasons (let the dog out, get the mail…). Now that I’m living near said brother, maybe I’ll challenge him to another contest this year!

Honestly, I’ve always preferred to be on the cooler side than the warmer side when it comes to temperatures (indoors and out), so I have that in my favor. But I think my love of winter remains because I still do fun things outside, like snowshoeing and ice fishing.

Lest I sound boastful in any way, I’m going to give my dear mother a bunch of credit for my winter tolerance. She wasn’t one to complain about the weather. She had a little ditty she used to say to me:

          Whether the weather is cold,

          Or whether the weather is hot,

          The weather’s the weather no matter the weather,

          Whether you like it or not!

Catchy, but effective. She sent me outside, dressed appropriately, most days of the year. (She allowed me to play in my bedroom during blizzards and go into the basement during tornadoes.) I practiced the same outdoor conditioning with my own kiddos. We even had picnics in the snow!

So here is my challenge for winter-haters: find something to do outside during the cold months. The variety of activities is so vast, anyone who is able can get out and engage in something. There are inexpensive, easy things to do (birdwatching, snowshoeing) or more challenging activities (downhill skiing, winter camping).

I dare you to fall in love with winter again!