It's Our Turn: Put on a hat and quit complaining
If I didn’t believe it before, I do now. After temperatures dropped down to the single digits earlier this week, there can be no doubt about it: Fall – my favorite time of the year – is pretty much a goner.
I hate to see it go because it always feels like another opportunity missed. Not only are there many beautiful fall photos that were left untaken, but once again, my list of summer projects is pretty much untouched. All I can do now is hope for a few more decent days to wrap up the fall winterization chores.
But the cold and snow are coming; it’s inevitable, now.
Also inevitable, is the perennial moaning and groaning about Minnesota winter, which starts in early November and lasts until resignation sets in. We like to gripe about having nine months of winter here (I’m not sure how that works –no matter how I calculate I can only get three, maybe four if we’re lucky). And every year when the first real snow comes, everyone acts like it was a big surprise, like maybe this year, if we just didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t happen.
Although I enjoy winter, and believe that anyone who complains too much should just move south and give the rest of us some peace, I do sort of understand where their gripes are coming from.
Winter can be a pain, both figuratively and literally. Being cold is uncomfortable, and sometimes it really hurts.
Of course, a lot of the “pain” of winter is just the nuisance factor. The cold makes things break more often (especially cars), and doing anything that requires dexterity is almost impossible while wearing gloves. And you can’t just do things spontaneously in winter, you have to prepare. The car must be warmed, winter clothes put on, and precautions taken in stormy weather.
That being said, summer is not exactly the Utopian wonderland that many make it out to be.
Before I went back to college and started working at the Echo, I spent many years working as a carpenter and general construction worker. That meant spending a lot of time working outside in all kinds of weather. I’ve worked outside all day when temperatures were 20 below zero and when they were nearly 100. You know what? They are both equally miserable.
After a long day of fighting the cold, you come home exhausted and unable to really feel warm. During the day, every time you go inside to take a break and warm up, it makes going out again all the more uncomfortable.
But working all day in the heat is no picnic either. After a long day of fighting the heat, you also come home exhausted and worn out. In addition, too much heat can make you feel sick – or worse yet, cause potentially-deadly heat stroke.
Sunshine and heat are overrated. It’s easy to talk about enjoying the sun and heat when you’re at the lake, or when you can go inside anytime you want, but when you have to be out in it all day, it’s not so great.
I enjoy summer (especially a nice 60 to 70 degree day), but winter really isn’t that bad if you have the right perspective – and the right clothing.
Dressing right really is the key. If we’re too cool or too lazy to put on some winter clothes (including a hat), we have no right to complain about the cold. On the other hand, if we dress warmly and sensibly, winter can be tolerated and even enjoyed.
In fact, there are a lot of good reasons to look forward to winter. Get outside and find an activity to enjoy, such as skiing, snowmobiling, skating, ice fishing, or just going for a peaceful walk in the snow. Winter is also a great time to sit inside reading and relaxing without having to feel guilty about not doing all those outside chores.
Even shoveling snow can be tolerated as a chance to get some fresh air and exercise. In the winter you shovel snow, in the summer you mow. What’s the difference?
Living in Minnesota, you’re missing out on a big part of life if you don’t enjoy every season and the variety they offer. Living your life always dreaming of summer is like waiting until you’re a certain age so you can enjoy life. While you’re waiting, a lot of life passes you by and never returns.
Now, where did I put my hat and gloves? • • •
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.