Why do we do this?

Toe and hand warmers have become my best friends.  That little warm glow next to my sensitive digits is so comforting as once again I head out into the COLD.

The thermometer is hovering justDSCN0030 below zero – a veritable heat wave in this cold snap.  I pull on my long underwear, add several thermal layers, don my head wrap and head out the door with my skis.  For my first circuit around the trails I take in the sun’s golden glow on the trees and long shadows across the snow.  Despite its lack of warmth, I enjoy the ambiance and even the crisp air.  It makes me glad I made the effort to get out and ski.  During my second lap, the cold begins to infringe on my body.  First the thumbs go, followed by my fingers.  By the time I’m gliding rapidly down the final hills, my knees complain of the chill, and I have no desire to go for a third lap.  I can’t wait to reach the warmth of the house.

The Northern Lights indicators are all pointing to a high likelihood of activity.  My husband’s phone buzzes with multiple alerts informing him of the fact.  He’s intent on going out to see and photograph the display late at night, and I hesitate but decide to join him.  The temperature is already -11 and heading out of town and away from Lake Superior it continues to plummet.  Fortunately, Rich has been busy scoping out viewing points that allow us to stay in the car and watch for the northern glow.  We are happy to occupy our seats with their “bun warmers” and wait.  And wait.  Scuttled again with a lack of aurora, we decide to salvage the trip with some photo shots of stars.  It’s clear and cold, and Rich IMG_3190 trimmedcatches me doing a “warming dance” alongside my camera as it takes its long exposure on the tripod.  My photos weren’t very good, but we do get in some valuable practice, and a few good laughs, mostly at ourselves.  And I get a decent shot of the dashboard…

The temperature has finally risen into the teens, but snow is falling and the wind is fierce.  We watch the snow swirl outside our windows, note how blustery it is and think how cozy we are inside.  But we don’t stay there.  Instead, we pile into our down jackets and jump into a 4-wheel drive truck with friends to go to a UMD hockey game.  Hockey?  Me?  Okay, so I’m not really a hockey (or spectator sports) fan, but hey – it’s a social outing.  And after all, it’s indoors.

We’re Minnesotans – better yet, Duluthians.  And proud of it.  Life doesn’t stop just because it’s cold outside.  That’s why we keep the warm clothing industry in business and continue to pursue our outdoor activities.  Otherwise it would be a long, dull winter.

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