Minnesota Hardy or Insanity? . . .

What does not destroy me, makes me strong. [Or, What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.]. ~ Friedrich Neitzche

At 9 pm thursday night it was 25º below. At 6 am friday morning it was 44º below zero and I was wondering where my “school is going to be late” call was. My phone was silent … so I called the superintendent to make sure I wasn’t missed (we have an electronic system). He said “Nope, school is a go .. we will have a regular day”. To my “isn’t it dangerous out there?” … he said in 2 hours it will still be 30 below, so what difference does it make. So, I plopped myself in the shower and got ready and went to school like I do every day … just like everyone else did.

To put these temperatures in perspective, this would be considered a warm winter day (a cold summer day) in Antarctica, but … I am not living in Antarctica. News and weather persons on the radio, tv, and internet were flashing weather warnings and telling us about the “extreme cold”, “dangerous conditions” … yet, life went on as normal. Some buses were a little late, some of us had to go warm our cars up during lunch time and I saw one person who needed a battery jump (but, they said it was their fault .. they had been putting off getting a new battery). Everyone may have had to bundled up a little bit more than normal but, took the cold temps in stride. It was just an average cold winter day in northern Minnesota.

The media weather doomsayers continually try to scare us into staying home. If we would listen to them, we would never leave our homes in the winter. I have stopped listening to them, they can add fear to my life over something I must face each day (Minnesota winters). The local radio station where people call in with road and weather conditions and internet weather radar are enough for me. It snows almost every day and there are some very cold days … we expect it, we plan for it, we have ways to cope with it and continue living.

Minnesotans will often brag about their “hardiness”. When 8 or more inches of snow are expected, we plan on driving slower – not running to the grocery store and hibernating in our house until it is over. When there are blizzard warnings we don’t panic, we change our plans just enough to make sure we are home before “it gets real bad” .. whatever that is. And, though we might cringe a bit when we hit 40 below, 20 to 30 below in January is considered a normal thing. Winter weather that brings other areas of the United States to a halt, are just an inconvenience to us .. they slow us down but seldom stop us. And, northern Minnesotans living in the wilderness are even more proud of this fact. “Can you believe the Twin Cities had a late start today because they had a few inches (10″) of snow?” When we get together, we may complain a bit about the weather … but, there is always a sense of pride in “we made it though”.

Minnesotans all have stories of hardship and survival and a wealth of knowledge we could offer others on how to survive winter and have fun doing so. For a comic version of this check out “Tips on Winter Survival from a Minnesotan” by Kevin Kling. And, because laughter keeps you warm inside don’t forget the multitude of Minnesotan jokes out there, too.
For example: (a small sample of the winter version) … You know you are a Minnesotan if:
… You’ve gone trick-or-treating in 3 feet of snow.
… Snow tires and a block heater came standard on your car.
… You carry jumper cables in your car.
… You laugh out loud every time you see a news report about a blizzard shutting down the entire east coast.
… the temperature in March is above freezing for three days in a row, and you think it’s summer.
… You were delighted to get a miniature snow shovel for your 3rd birthday.

As Minnesotans, we have developed a tough winter reputation …. the real question is
… are Minnesotan’s really hardy people or completely insane? What do you think?

“To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems insanity.” ~ Aristotle
Current temperature Saturday afternoon is about 10º below with at light wind (20-30º below windchill factor) … a beautiful, crisp sunny day … under the bear full moon tonight, how low will it go? And, how long will this cold snap last?


~ by bearyweather on January 22, 2011.

8 Responses to “Minnesota Hardy or Insanity? . . .”

  1. Completely insane! I live in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. I have only lived here for three years but we never had a delay or school closing. I did however give us a delay one year when the actual temp was -25 and the feels like was -52. There was no way I was going out in that. You are very brave for living up north!

    • Welcome to our crazy State …. are we rubbing off on you, yet?

      It amazes me sometimes at the conditions we learn to accept as normal. In my opinion, living up here in the woods is much easier than living in the big city (i grew up there) … you are brave to live there.

      • I am starting to think that is part of my problem. Even when I get 25 minutes away from my suburb, the people change and become more friendly! I did try to go ot with just my vest today because at 20 it was “warmer”. Bad idea. For this newcomer it was sill cold!

  2. Maybe a mix of both (insanity and hardiness). Although we don’t get as cold as Minnesota, we get enough snow here that we, too, laugh when we hear about the east coast being shut down by a couple of inches of snow. A friend refers to it as “east coast whining.” Having grown up in NJ, I can sort of understand their whining, at least when it comes to clearing the roads in places like New York City or Philadelphia where there are so many cars and people that it becomes a nightmare. Still. They have no idea what real snow is like since they get hit with it and two days later it’s gone.

    I experienced -30 once, while living in Chicago. I can’t imagine having temperatures like that on a regular basis. It was -7 here yesterday and that was cold enough for me! (I was insane or hardy enough to be out hiking in it.)

  3. We are an adaptable species … it is amazing what we can get used to. If you are prepared, it is not that bad … we learn to cope. Hiking at -7º make you hardy in my opinion (not crazy).

  4. This post is a huge reminder of why I live in the (usually) sunny south. You can have your cold weather and I will bow down to your hardiness!

    • There is something uncomfortable – weather wise – in every area of the United States at some time during the year. I will be complaining about the heat and the bugs in no time. The heat and humidity of the south is a huge reminder to my why things are not so bad up here. I will bow down to your hardiness when it comes to the heat this summer.

  5. First of all, your photograph is spectacular! I can’t even thrity below…I compalin at plain thrity! I also bow to your hardiness. I am amazed they still conduct school in that kind of weather!

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