Esteban and I had excellent timing in leaving our house for a condo, it seems: This winter has been among the coldest and snowiest I remember in a long time. It’s been wonderful not to worry about shoveling, or parking restrictions, or raking snow off the roof.
Still, I did feel a bit guilty this morning when I heard the young men (once again) plowing our parking lot. “Thanks so much for doing this,” I said to one of them as I left for work. “It’s no problem,” he replied — though I heard it as “snow problem.” Indeed.
Anyway. The absence of snow-related chores has helped me better appreciate the white stuff, even when it snarls traffic. A couple of weeks ago it took me 15 minutes just to get on the freeway. (Not moving, so totally safe to activate the dash-cam and show you these white-out conditions.)
Still not moving (but leaving lots of room in case someone gets overconfident and spins out).
As usual, winter brought out the best in Minnesotans, like this pedestrian who left his perch on the curb to push a stranger around the corner.
I felt bad for the woman who tried to follow me up this hill, though: Without four-wheel drive, no amount of pushing was going to get her over that incline.
The following morning I headed out for a stroll. It was still dark, because … well, it’s still dark before I go to work. All the better to capture the eerie glow of incoming headlights on the road.
Also eerie? How the sidewalk ends, with the tacit suggestion that you step into the path of those headlights.
Yesterday brought another “complex mixed wintry precipitation event,” which in my experience translated roughly as “wind-driven, razor-sharp ice shards.”
I didn’t have to work. But I did have a doctor appointment downtown, so I dutifully covered as much flesh as possible and headed into the elements. The drive there wasn’t too bad, actually. But the drive back? Well, it would have been faster to get out and walk.
So I did. I was practically alone on the Stone Arch bridge as I took in the wintry scenery.
But then a jogger went by … and turned around.
I felt apprehensive as he approached me. His face was completely covered, and there was no one else around. I instinctively rehearsed my exit strategy.
“Can I ask you a big favor?” the lanky figure said as it approached. “Can you take my picture?” I looked at his frost-covered eyelashes and kind eyes. This man was not a threat.
His name was Shane, and he was a college-basketball star in his senior year when he found out he had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). “I just went blind in one eye one day,” he said. But he was doing better now, thanks in part to a new drug.
He had all the hope and joy of someone who’s been given a second chance … and he wanted to remember this moment. I was happy to photograph him running, relishing a simple act most of us take for granted.
I told him about someone dear to me who is also fighting MS. “What’s her name?” he asked. “I’ll pray for her.” And I believed him.
As I walked back to my car, I could hear my friend Dan playing the carillon in the tower high above City Hall. I couldn’t make out the tune but it didn’t matter. The bells were a perfect soundtrack for this arctic-cold city full of warm hearts and kind strangers.
Your timing is good as it was sunny and 77 (F) where I live, so I am in fine shape for enjoying your beautiful snow pictures.
Actually, I think I could thrive in Minnesota. I know that I’m in the minority but I feel cheated if I do not get snowed in for at least a day or two every winter. I mean that’s what winter is for!
77 degrees??! You’re killing me, JP! 🙂
Like you, I also feel cheated if we don’t get at least one good, blanketing snowfall — especially around the holidays. I could do without the sub-zero temps, tho. Maybe next year, ha ha.
“…I couldn’t make out the tune….”(I love when that happens)
I do too, Judy! It somehow makes the moment more timeless when you can only catch a little auditory “glimpse” of the song, doesn’t it? Lovely to hear from you …
I’m reminded of my childhood winters in South Bend, one of the snowiest cities in the nation.
I don’t miss them.
Lake-effect snow is another thing entirely, Jim — I honestly don’t know how people survive it! Glad you moved to a more moderated part of Indiana, at least.
Beautiful photos, even if the weather is crummy.
Thank you for your kind words! I’m challenging myself to get out there even on crummy days. Sometimes I’m surprised that it’s not as crummy as I first imagined. Other times, I’m really grateful to come back inside and have central heating. But either way, it’s good to remind ourselves every now and then that for all our modern conveniences, we are still a part of nature.
Wow that is a lot snow. Great photos. I do love the way you write, and how your outlook of life even in this cold is so positive, appreciative and accommodating.
What a lovely comment, Bella … you’ve absolutely made my day! But don’t be fooled: I do utter a lot of cuss words on the *really* cold days. 🙂
Well i can understand that.. it looks way toooo cold for me..
I am experiencing unseasonably warm weather (+9 degrees C)
Lucky you, Anthony! I look forward to being able to say the same in May, or maybe June. Ha ha!
Lovely story. I was just going to compliment you on the eerie photo with the yellow road but you outdid it with that plot twist!
What a kind comment, Mel. Thank you! I honestly wasn’t sure myself where the post was going until I wrote it — so I’m gratified you appreciated the plot twist. 🙂
Another “chance” encounter that turned into a nice exchange. Snow in Minnesota! Of course the year we stay home for the winter we get cold and more snow. Oh well, Melanie does a great job with her new snow blower.
OF COURSE the year you stay home for the winter we get the horrible cold snaps and plenty of snow, Tom — it’s Murphy’s Law, isn’t it? (Or some Minnesota equivalent.) At least you had the good sense and good fortune to marry a woman who knows her way around a snowblower. My husband was not so lucky. 🙂
While I am craving Summer something fierce, this post was so sweet and almost makes me crave the powdery white stuff (Almost!) I so appreciate living in an apartment building where I don’t have to shovel, especially when I go home to my parent’s house during the winter and being the “dutiful daughter” shovel for them :p
I as always loved your pictures and the story of Shane was so sweet! I love that! As much as I am a Summer girl there is something about walking around in a snow storm and meeting other brave souls 🙂 ❤
What a wonderful daughter you are to swing by and shovel for your parents! I bet it’s just one of 10,000 ways you brighten their day. 🙂
And you’re right that there’s something special about meeting other brave souls who are hardy (or foolish) enough to be out in a snowstorm. It’s a kind of brotherhood you just don’t find in Tampa or Orlando, ha ha.
PS: I forgot to thank you for stopping by! You always brighten my day too, even without any shoveling. 😀
Beautiful story and photos. It’s nice to learn a little about life in Minnesota!
Thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post.
Your photos are so nice to look at!
Thank you so much, Hanna! I appreciate your kind words.
Heide, no falseness – I’m teared up with this post. It’s beautiful, so many levels. This man also knew your kindness. Lovely you could be there to experience each other that day. Thank you for sharing all – beautiful photos, humor, and so many examples of gratitude for life in the face of difficulty. I appreciate – very –
You are so kind and generous, Lara … THANK YOU. I’m honored and pleased that this post spoke to you. ❤️
It did – highly!
The movement of the photo was great! love the shot!
Thank you very much!
Good pictures and I want to add this to your comments about them.
I believe that fact that we have 4 definite seasons here in N. Wyoming with a lot of snow now and can make us appreciate the rebirth of springtime a bit better. When the trees start to take on the first buds of springtime and certainly the grass takes on the effect of warmth by the sun, you can see the effects of Hope each year. And you can see God more visually in the transition from winter to springtime a bit better. Just my thought I wanted to add.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Jim, and especially for adding your thoughts! I agree with you that the bitter winters make spring all the more precious — and all the more miraculous too (because it really does seem like a miracle to me when everything comes back to life in the spring). Cheers to you from a couple of states over!
Heyy I love yours post ❤❤❤
Thank you! Moito obrigada! 🙂
Your post is so refreshing to mind. It feels so perfect even when the conditions are tough to deal with.
You got a good eye there with everything around ya. 🙂
Thank you very much! I really appreciate your kind words.
This has happened to me and I know how you feel. This is really hard when you cant be late to school or work when it is snowing.
Yes, the snow can really mess up traffic! I always feel bad on those days for people who have to be somewhere at a very specific time, like for a job interview. Thank you for stopping by!
HA! I do NOT miss winter in North America AT ALL. I am from Boston, where the weather is only slightly less beastly than Minnesota. My new home in Switzerland is Winter-Lite comparatively! We get all the good stuff about winter, snow in the mountains, skiing, pretty pictures, without all the crap like digging your car out or getting stuck in 4 hours of traffic. The funny thing is, winters in Boston always made me feel so badass. We love to complain about the winter… but secretly… we love it.
You are SO RIGHT about the badass factor! There’s something really gratifying about standing up to Mother Nature (after donning the appropriate layers, of course), isn’t there? Still, if someone offered me “winter lite” in Switzerland with “without all the crap like digging your car out or getting stuck in 4 hours of traffic,” I would go for it in a heartbeat.
Winter lite is pretty great. I am enjoying it a lot.
I just loved reading your post. Give’s me perspective on what’s important and what’s not at all. My gosh, I should never complain about a single thing. I think Shane must be pretty special even before he discovered his MS. If you read this, good luck Shane, I’m sorry to hear that.
That being said, and thinking of Shane, winter is a breeze…no worries at all.
Isn’t Shane’s story a bit shot of perspective? My heart really went out to him for having to face such a terrible diagnosis at such a young age. I join you in wishing him a long life and good health. The world needs more people like him …
Alot of snow! Fabulous photos
Too much snow! There’s probably still a little pile of it somewhere. 🙂 Thank you!
Ur welcome 🙂
Great photos and story. Snow is something I rarely see and a couple of flakes on the road would be enough to have me worried about needing snow chains. LOL
With the right combination of humidity and temperature, even a few flakes can cause a mess! Lucky you for not having to worry about that too often. 😉
Happily, these hard winter times start to be history now. In Helsinki we have some snow here and there, but in the north, there is yet today snow.
Have a wonderful day!
Hello, Matti! Yes, indeed — winter is almost history now. We still have a few piles of snow, but there are large patches of grass everywhere, finally. It’s wonderful. Hope spring reaches you soon, too!