Number Ten - Snow Days
Okay, this is number ten on the list, not number one, because I no longer attend a public school in Minnesota (tear) and I haven't had any school days cancelled. But, I have fond memories of that fateful January day back in 1994 when then Governor Arne Carlson cancelled school statewide due to the frigidly low temperatures (negative 26 temps, negative 48 with windchill). The irony of the whole thing is that we played outside all day. Awesomeness. Although snow days are an epically awesome reason to love Minnesota winters, having come closer to the age that I will have children that the age at which I was a child, I have come to fear the snow day. Kids at home! During a weekday! TWO DAYS IN A ROW! Well, I will always have fond memories of the snow days of my childhood.
Number Nine - Living up to the Minnesota Reputation
Minnesota has an reputation for extreme snows and extreme temperatures. But, the reality is that winters in the metro aren't usually that bad - I mean it's Minnesota winter but it really isn't as extreme as the winters some of our neighbors regularly experience. The winters around here are usually mild in comparison to the winters in the Dakotas, Northern Minnesota and sometimes even Iowa. But not anymore! We have officially claimed our title to horrible winter conditions this year!
Number Eight - Snow Forts
Snow forts are another memory from my childhood, although I think mine were very unique as I wasn't allowed to actually crawl under snow tunnels or igloos (you know, your parents see one story on the news and you can't ever have any fun). So, we builtwalls and mazes and thrones and whatever else we could imagine into the snow and the snow banks along our culdesac. The best thing too was that you could buy thing to dye the snow. Which meant that dragons and doorways came to life! Oh to be three feet tall again!
Number Seven - Soups and Hot Drinks
Food is driven by the seasons, and that's apparent in Minnesota. You don't eat the same things on a hot summer day as you do on a frigidly cold winter day. Bring on the soups and hot cocoa! I love winter because it's perfectly fine to boil something hot on your stove all day because you don't have to worry about blowing out the air conditioner. And, when it's lower than ten degrees out, it's always the perfect time for hot chocolate or hot apple cider, morning, noon or night. The only bad thing about eating and drinking warm liquids during these days of frigid temperatures is that they cool down so quickly!
Number Six - Neighbors Helping Neighbors
OK, this is a little cliche, and as one of those helpful neighbors it sometimes gets a little old (if you drive a Toyota Prius you're just going to have to wait for the plows), but it's the daily deeds of life that become more neighbor friendly during this time of the year. Our neighbor kindly snow-blowed our sidewalk on her way from the alley to her front sidewalk and you see people help each other over snowbanks and across the street more often this time of year. It's nice.
Number Five - The Sounds of Snow
Snow makes very distinct sounds. Usually it doesn't make that sound until you step on it or move it or something, but it makes those sounds all the same. And the sounds are distinct. Fresh fallen snow is light and sounds like glitter, gently moving from place to place, easily kicked out of the way or stepped through. When it's very cold out, snow makes a very different sound. It's a hard, crunching sounds that lets you know you better tuck the ends of your mittens into your jacket before you get too far away from the door. And the painful reality is that it gets really cold around here whether there's snow or not, so I would prefer to at least have a soundtrack that goes along with the bitter cold weather!
Number Four - Winter Clothes
LOVE WINTER CLOTHES! There's something natural about wearing three sweaters and two pairs of pants on a winter day. It's a kind of style that I like and feel comfortable in an am eager to embrace. Also, it becomes pretty much acceptable to wear the same outer item multiple times week (at least, I think so), since it's not against your skin and is just for show, go for it! Wear that Norwegian sweater three days in a row! But seriously, I think boots, wool sweaters, scarves and down jackets are totally unnecessary when the temperatures are above 32 degrees, so I welcome the cold weather because I do love all of those things!
Number Three - It Looks Like Christmas
Believe it or not, sometimes we come dangerously close to having snow-less Christmases! These are dreary times in Minnesota and I think the Christmas spirit does not truly arrive unless there's snow on the ground to make your travels hazardous. Not to mention, evergreen, lights and red bows are set off more brilliantly against the blanket of white that covers the cities when there's snow.
Number Two - Skiing, Skating and Snowshoeing!
Just like food and wardrobe, there are some things that you can do in the winter that you just can't do any other time of year. Now, I understand that one can ice skate inside, but I find that skating inside isn't really a fulfilling experience. There's something magical and fun about skating outside, in the evening, across the uneven ice, spreading vaseline on your face to make sure you don't get chapped. Yes childhood, there you are again. The beauty of skating outside is also that there's not ice time, you can skate as long as you can handle the cold and there's triumph in that. As an adult, I've come to enjoy more cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I like them because they're great ways to be active in the winter, you can go at your own pace, and the world is shown under a different light when you are out, late at night, wearing snowshoes and just, being in the winter.
Number One - Snow is Just INCREDIBLE
It's pretty amazing, isn't it? That snow even exists.