How Low Can You Go?


I have lived in central Minnesota for almost 13 years, and I grew up in northern Illinois. I am used to cold winters, lots of snow, and wind chills dipping way below zero. I also lived in southern Maryland for 15 years, and know what a hot and humid climate is like. After experiencing both, I’ve decided I’d rather be cold than hot. Sounds like I’m all tough and prepared for winter when it hits, eh? Well, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Cold is relative.


When winter swings into Minnesota, somewhere around October, and that first cold day hits, I feel totally unprepared, and get what I call the Big Cold Chill as soon as I step outside. It takes me a few days to get used to the idea of bundling up, and that onset of shivers. Then I work into the cold, adjust my outerwear (and underwear), and learn to live with the brutally cold temperatures.


So, during our last cold snap, affectionately referred to as the Polar Vortex by the national newscasters, I built up my usual tolerance for the cold. There were even days during that period of time when I found myself saying it wasn’t that cold, and it was -15! I appreciated the sunny days, even when the temps were still unbelievably cold. I was getting into the winter groove.


And then, it was over, and we had a real heat wave for about a week or so. Temps soared to the 20’s! I got lazy about the gloves and hat, and was able to bump the thermostat down a bit in the house. Some folks in Minnesota even break out the shorts and sandals during such heat waves. (I am not one of those types!) And during this heat wave, I would feel cold at 10 degrees. A week before this, 10 would have felt very warm, but now, it was causing that Big Cold Chill.


Now, we are faced with Polar Vortex II: The Sequel, and I am dreading the inevitable. I had gotten so tough by the end of the last run of below zero days, but now I feel like I’m starting all over again. I’ve lost all of that tough skin, and have already had a wave of the Big Cold Chill this evening. I’m also regretting not spending more time outside this past weekend, when we were having that heat wave, because tomorrow is going to hit hard.  


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