It’s hard to remember why we live in a place where the air hurts our face for days at a time. It’s hard to remember why we even try to do things outside when it’s so cold. It’s hard to remember why we love winter at all. But we DO love it. Sure, there are things we absolutely hate about it- things we can’t stand! But for every one thing I hate, there are at least three things I love. So without further ado: the unconventional things I love about winter.
1. Kicking Off the Sludge
My favorite part about winter, without a doubt, is the feeling of euphoria I get when I kick off the snow clogging my mud flaps on my car. It’s SOOO satisfying to watch the chunk of snow and ice fall to the ground in a large clump. It’s like the feeling you get when you pop bubble wrap, or when you break in egg yolk on a sandwhich: Pure jubilation. You see the buildup of snow on your tire flaps, you walk over to it, you swiftly kick it once and it gracefully falls in one large blob to the ground. Next you do one of two things: you either run over it with your car, or you kick it underneath your car to avoid it. Either way, there’s something nice about seeing four large mud chunks lifelessly on the pavement, free from your vehicle and causing you harm. You can now relax.
2. Crushing Ice Potholes
When you were a kid, did you ever walk home from school and come across an ice-covered pothole? You’d stop, look at it, make your decision, and jump both feet first on the center of said pothole hearing the blissful pop as you landed. The ice shattered and you felt a sense of accomplishment. Then you’d look up from your success and see a whole sidewalk filled with unbroken ice-covered potholes ready for the taking. You’d bounce to each one making sure they had your undivided attention. Sometimes you’d get lucky and one would have water in the bottom and you’d get a splash alongside a pop. Once you were home, you’d anonymously look back on your path and see a sidewalk of broken ice covered potholes and the sense of wonderment of who did it. You and the gods had a secret to keep. Onto Boy Meets World and Smart Guy.
3. Sun Dogs…
…Are a telltale sign that it’s freaking cold outside. The all-knowing and powerful internet says they “are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either side on the Sun, often co-occurring with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo.” They occur, especially in the winter in the Midwest, when the sun is refracted from ice crystals. The crystals act like a prism, bending the sun light rays horizontally, creating small rainbows. They tend to be seen on very cold days when there are more ice crystals in the atmosphere. #Science. It’s normally blistering cold when we see them, but it makes the weather more tolerable knowing something beautiful is coming out of it.
4. Controlled Car Drifting
There’s something that we do here in the North that I like to call controlled car drifting. Controlled car drifting is where you know the road is icy but you use it to your advantage to help you along. If you’re going around a roundabout, just let the car drift through it in a controlled manner. If you’re making a turn into your driveway, turn your front wheels sharp and let your back ones gently slide into place. If you’re a real pro (don’t try this at home unless you are in fact, a pro), you can even slide directly into a parallel parking space. I’ve never parallel drifted but a girl can dream. Controlled car drifting is only for the days where it’s a little icy, and for the experience! Nothing better than feeling like an-under-controlled-racecar-driver in the middle of 40 below weather!
5. Using the snow to keep your drinks cold at a party (never overfilling the fridge)
If you’ve hosted a dinner party, or a pre-game party, you know that the first thing to get clogged is always the fridge. Living in Fargo, we’re allowed, almost encouraged, to use the elements to our advantage. We like to stick our beer/wine/liquor bottles outside in the snow to keep them cold instead of taking up space in the refrigerator. Thus, putting the world back in proper balance! Save the fridge, use the snow!
6. No Bugs
I hate bugs. Haaaate them. Like, bye bugs! Hate you everyday! So the fact that for some reason we don’t have bugs during the winter months, or I never see them, makes winter so much more appealing! I don’t know if they hibernate or die, and honestly I don’t care. All I know that they go somewhere; heaven or under my stairs, and stay there until it gets to be about spring and 55 degrees. Until that time, I live in peace.
7. Dog Booties
Even though it gets cold outside, dogs still need walks, and humans need to take them. I don’t own any dogs but I still love it when their owners put little booties on their feet. They do this, someone told me, to 1. Protect them from the cold, and 2. To protect them from the salt that ends up on the roads. Either way, dogs are making fashion statements everywhere.
8. Fresh, Clean Air
Clean air is my favorite type of air!! Obviously. It’s crisp. It’s pure. It’s almost like a disinfectant. In some places, Scandinavian countries like Sweden, babies even take regular naps outside during the winter. It is said to be healthier for the kids by getting fresh air, especially in the cold. Maybe we’re not ready for naps outside when the temps are in the teens, we but do appreciate how the crisp air makes us feel after a long day inside.
9. Throwing Hot Liquid in the Freezing Air
Okay, this may be a little childish, but sometimes we get bored in the winter months. I don’t know who came up with this idea but I’m so happy they did. Boiling water/making coffee, and throwing it into the air, watching it turn to smoke, and when it’s really cold, ice! BOILING water into ICE! Be careful if you attempting this sorcery, however, you may burn yourself.
10. Warm (BOOZY) Drinks and Something We Call Hot Totties
Alcohol is present in the culture of an average Midwesterner. It is. That doesn’t make us bad people for taking advantage of something legal. We like it. But here’s the thing about us and alcohol: it’s a part of our heritage. According to an article by Karen Herzog of the Bismarck Tribune, alcohol was embedded in the culture of Germans and Scandinavians where it was an integral part of life. When immigrants settled in North Dakota from Norway, Sweden, and Germany (among other places) they brought over their values with them. Herzog goes on to quote Frank White, an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota, “Working hard led to celebrating — at wedding dances, sports events, harvest parties,” White said. “In the ‘old country,’ alcohol was part of life, and people didn’t think of it as a negative in their culture,” White said. However, it had a specific place: “People didn’t drink in the morning. They didn’t drink alone.” We appreciate the hot totties, is typically a mixed drink made of liquor and water with honey, herbs and spices, and served hot, the mulled german wine, or the Baileys® in coffee or hot chocolate. It’s a part of our culture to share drinks with friends.
11. Pulling your winter jacket out of your closet only to find a $20 in the pocket!
It’s a positive way to start off the winter. You’re welcome.
This is how I like to winterize: by wearing stretchy pants, buying a new scarf, investing in a NICE winter jacket, not shaving my legs (or not shaving at all), taking vitamins, drinking more water, staying social, and being active. Seasonal depression is a thing, but if you do any one of these things, you’ll make it. Trust.
13. Auto Starters Starting All At Once
You know it’s cold outside when all of a sudden you’re getting ready to leave an event, and you hear a score of the musical sound of auto starters. Everyone’s sounds a little bit different, but you can definitely tell they’re auto starters. They make a difference.
14. Winter Activities
BE ACTIVE! I love winter because I get to do things that i wouldn’t normally do! Like doing Snowga, or complete in a cardboard sled race. We don’t get to be hibernating bears all winter just because it’s cold outside. Staying active, getting sunshine, taking in the scenery are all vital parts of enjoying the experience. Winter lasts longer than any other season in Fargo, sometimes ranging from end of October to beginning of May. If we don’t take advantage of all the good things winter has to offer, then we’ll go mad. Participating in things like Frostival, using the ice skating rink, cross country skiing, throwing a snowball fight, sledding, building snow forts, snowshoeing, outdoor hot tubbing, or do anything that gets you off the couch and into some fresh air. I’m not saying you can’t have a lazy day; I do all the time. But to quote one of the greatest movies of all time (ahem Legally Blonde,) “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands…” Preach Elle Woods! Or in other words, exercise and activities are good. #You’llThankMe
**Info for Frostival: http://frostival.com/
Once you get past the part where it gets really cold here, you’ll begin to understand why we love winter. There is something about the blue dawn light seeping through our windows, or the chilly mornings that make your bed seem like heaven on earth. You can’t replace the feeling you get when you sit in front of a fireplace talking to your family and friends. You just have to get past the fact that it gets really cold. After that you can accept the fact that everyone has to deal with it. Winter will be what you make it. So make it count!