Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Getting nostalgic over the cold

We are in for a chilly week here in MN. This morning for my run, it was -8 (but there was no wind, so the wind chill was exactly the same, which means it only felt like it was -8!). Actually, it was a really nice run on the hard packed trails. I met no other runners or walkers, had the trails to myself, and returned with some pretty frosty eyelashes! Things are supposed to get even colder for the weekend.

Cold weather takes me back in time. I grew up in central Minnesota, and we experienced many a bitter cold day up there on the “frozen tundra!”

This was a long time ago, but this is to the best of my recollection; The worst I recall was a -48 degree day (that was actual air temperature, by the way!) when I was in elementary school. Dad, a teacher, was already at school, and I vividly remember standing out at the end of the driveway waiting for the school bus.

Yes, you read that correctly; I was standing at the bus stop at the end of our county road. School had not been called off (back then, we had a theory that my school district always waited to see what the neighboring town did before making any rash, weather-related school cancellations!).

Weather that cold is surreal; The snow makes a loud crunch when you take a step, there are virtually no signs of life, and the air and trees make an eerie tinkling noise that sounds like high-pitched wind chimes. And your spit will freeze before it hits the ground!

It turned out that the busses got recalled, school was eventually canceled, but the teachers all had to stay at school for some reason. However, they called off school so late that there were still kids waiting for their bus, like my brother and me!

Soon, I see Dad’s truck coming down the road, and he picked us up. I think Mom was teaching at a different district at the time (Is that right, Mom? And if so, what the hell, didn’t anyone call off school back then?!?), so because nobody was home, Dad took us back to work with him. So I had to go to school anyhow! I believe they eventually sent all the teachers home after some pipes froze in the school or something like that. Ah, such is winter in Minnesota!

Nowadays, when the weather gets the least bit cold, all of the local TV meteorologists will start foaming at the mouth with excitement. “Oooh, it is going to get REAAAAALLY cold this weekend with temperatures in the double digits below zero!” they will exclaim with great sensationalism. The National Weather Circus is even projecting temps of -15 on Saturday morning for the metro.

Having stood at the bus stop at -48 degrees, I am not all that impressed. On Saturday morning, I will probably just say, “Hmm, looks like I will just have to wear the full facemask on my run today!” :)

Until next time,

Jean
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