When I was a kid, I waited and waited for the first snow. I loved winter and everything about it. The shoulder-high drifts that turned our backyard into a landscape straight out of a sci-fi movie, the slush puddles begging to be jumped in at the bus stop – thereby covering the neighbor girl in brown water and salty muck, the hard-pack snow with which I tried endlessly to build an igloo – never successful, snowflakes the size of sand dollars, and the simple fact that snow meant Christmas was around the corner. I even loved bundling up like the kid from A Christmas Story. Nothing could faze me. Not the cold, not the wind, not the wetness of my clothes after spending recess rolling around in the snow.
I still giddily await the first snow each year, but that’s all I want – the first and last snow. [Aside from the required Christmas snow.] In the years following my devil-may-care youth, I regret to report, my Midwestern hardiness is hanging gingerly by a thread. The daily routine for last three months has been sweatpants under jeans, two pairs of socks and at least three shirts, topped by a heavy coat, scarf, wool-lined boots, mittens and hat. Sometimes hand warmers. This is getting old, as breathtakingly stunning as I look in all that.
I woke up to – yet another – snow-kissed morning. The sun creating a calico pattern on the wall as it filtered through the icy window.
I heard on the radio two days ago that, during the month of January, not one city in all of Minnesota has managed to break 32° F. We’re days from February and not a 33° F+ forecast in sight. But for as much as I complain, a plus-ça-change seems to be taking effect. For instance, it was 3° F this morning. Not only did I amble outside to warm up and de-snow the car without a coat or mittens, but I found myself smiling at the sunshine and taking in a deep breath of crisp morning air. A fresh dusting of snow glinting in the light is gorgeous.
After an early meeting at General Mills [yes, that General Mills], I made my way to Dunn Bros. This is the kind of coffee shop where the elderly gentlemen at the table next to you play continuous games of regulation chess, there are vintage copies of Solzhenitsyn, Proust, Browning and Tan lining the bookshelves, and the baristas know how to pull an espresso. You half expect Voltaire to walk through the door and start in about social reform or censorship. I nestled into a cozy spot to work, an expertly-crafted latte alongside to stimulate the thought process, of course.
I think I’ll check out the City of Lakes Loppet this weekend. If not because of the brilliant name and toned men in skin-tight outfits, then perhaps to grab hold of that string and reclaim some of my youthful resilience.