Only three things in Minnesota life are certain: death, taxes, and a long, cold winter. I moved to Minnesota for college with nothing more for outerwear than a black and plum reversible fleece Target zip-up. It didn’t even have a hood — I have no idea what my Midwestern parents were thinking! (I did eventually return with a proper coat after Thanksgiving break, but still… college kids are built differently.) I learned quickly through the unspoken lessons of my peers that if you don’t learn to embrace the winter, you’re going to be pretty unhappy for a large chunk of the year. So for me, living in and caring for Minnesota means getting out in all of the elements and encouraging others to do the same.
Now, as a sensible and not-too-proud adult, I embrace both winter and proper (if somewhat unflattering) winter garb. There are very few days that are actually too cold to get out and enjoy that fresh Minnesota air, a hypothesis I put to the test with my first born when I had to walk my dog every morning on account of my husband’s early work hours.
In preparation for a cold winter walk, I would bundle myself up, then bundle my baby up, then strap her to my chest and bundle both of us up together, with one of my husband’s jackets zipped over our lumpy amalgamation. (I’m still doing this with my second babe two years later; the two-year-old stays warm simply from the aerobic feat that is trying to move about in her cumbersome snowsuit.)
In our family, we call it being “comfortably cold” — that distinct feeling of being outside with cold cheeks, and maybe some cold extremities, but being otherwise warm and cozy. To me, there are few better feelings. Sharing the outdoors — whether it’s physically getting others outside, or sharing photos of my adventures on Instagram — is something I’ve tried to do regularly for the past decade or so. More recently, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring my home with my kids; seeing this place I love so much from a fresh vantage point, with the awe, wonder, and magic that is so innate in their little minds. Luckily, a Minnesota winter is especially magic, and especially long. So put on those extra layers, lace up your boots, and get on out there!