Some moments of beauty

The past 10 days have been a wild weather ride, but there have been some moments of beauty.

Snowy path 1390167 BLOG

I didn’t get any photos of the Historic Polar Vortex, because I wasn’t outside long enough. But I can tell you this with some authority: 32 degrees below zero Fahrenheit is EXPONENTIALLY colder than just zero. It felt as if my skin was literally being scalded.

As any Minnesotan will tell you, though, the real menace when it gets so cold is black ice. That’s because anti-icing chemicals stop working, and car exhaust freezes into an almost-invisible film on the roads.

Black ice 1380868 BLOG

This doesn’t stop my hardy statemates from venturing out, however. (As you can see, parkas with furry hoods are all the rage. And also, sidewalk sweepers count as pedestrians.)

Downtown street crossing 1390129 BLOG

Others prefer to go running and sledding in the woods …

Minnesotans at play 1390214 CR BLOG

… or just venture outside in shorts. (One wonders how this guy got into a university.)

Polar vortex Miles in shorts BLOG

After the bitter cold came a sudden warm-up, which caused an equally sudden melt. I ventured out early last Sunday in hopes of seeing something beautiful. Instead I found this eerie glow under the new 35W bridge in Minneapolis.

35W glow 1380938 BLOG

I also hung around Minnehaha Falls for a while, hoping some of the fog would burn off.

Mhaha Falls composite CX BLOG

Foggy park bench 1390034 BLOG

Runner in fog 1390041 BLOG

Alas, the only color I spotted was this forlorn mitten.

Forlorn mitten 1390068 BLOG

The drive home along the Mississippi felt like being on the edge of a pirate map: “Steer to port, me hearties, for at starboard there be dragons.”

Mississippi banks 1390108 CX2 BLOG

But we did get a clear evening or two in there, with the promise of warmth to come, and longer days.

Sunset 1380879 BLOG

It’s just a matter of time before I’ll be complaining to you about the heat and mosquitoes.


    • Cold is such a relative concept, isn’t it? My folks in Florida get upset if it dips below the 50s! But while we’re used to cold winters in Minnesota, 30 below was a bit ridiculous. On the bright side, though, it did make our “normal” temperatures of about 10 degrees feel like a heat wave! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by, Suz.

      • You are so welcome. And yes, so relative – my folks in Florida say the same thing – it makes me laugh. Growing up in Michigan, I recall the frozen winters – which are beautiful – they just last too long. Suz

        • Michigan! Poor Michigan almost has it worse than we do because of all that lake-effect snow. Good for you for escaping to Kentucky! Alas, my husband and I were too lazy to get the heck outta dodge and it looks like we’re stuck here now — at least until we retire. Gotta admit, though, that our three months of summer *are* pretty nice. 🙂

  1. Wow, when the waterfall freezes, well *that’s* cold.

    I too chose to stay indoors, and with temps much warmer than yours. Moving my office into my home turned out to be a really good idea.

    My daughter called me, concerned that her car had taken about 5 seconds to start, asking if that was a problem. I could not stifle my laughter, being of an age to remember when starting a car in those conditions could require 2 days and a 20 degree warm up.

    • Smart move, bringing your office into your home! I felt privileged to be able to do that too last week, albeit temporarily. Funny story about your daughter’s car, though. I remember too the days of things simply not working, and the contraptions of dubious safety we’d rig up in an attempt to get our car moving again! Thank goodness the technology has improved since then.

    • I’m with you 100%, my friend! It’s beautiful to look at, but April (or May, or June) can’t get here fast enough. Thank you for being such a loyal reader!

    • You’re so clever, Patti! It really ain’t easy being green sometimes. But only 120 days until the summer solstice, and then EVERYTHING will be green!

    • I love your description of Mother Nature as a “real beauty queen”! She is indeed … and in my part of the world she changes costumes quite often. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and grateful you stopped by.

    • How lucky you are, Trudi! We’ve in the middle of another major snowstorm. But thanks to you I will close my eyes now and dream of spring flowers in Bruges. 🙂

  2. Exquisite photos! Easier to say when I’m not in them feeling that temperature, I won’t lie, but they are sure great captures, Heide. Glad to see people still able to thrive and carry on, and happy for the beauty shared in your post “)

    • If you lived here I’m sure you would be one of the hardy souls out there making the best of it, dear Lara (ice-climbing, maybe?). But thank you so much for stopping by and sharing vicariously at least in these frozen adventures. It’s always wonderful to hear from you …

      • =) I would like to think I’d venture out, Heide, though I don’t know about ice climbing ; p That one is pretty iffy, lol. I hope you all are safe and managing those temperatures. I loved to see the people out and about in your photos!

  3. Heide you take such beautiful shots and curate them so well. I love the top few mainly monotone shots with the touches of red. And the last sunset photo – beautiful. You can have some of our very hot weather – we are certainly done with our record breaking 45 degrees Celsius plus days. Louise

    • Oh, Louise … I’m so sorry to read that your heat wave continues. I do hope you’ll have some relief soon! It seems the weather is crazy these days, no matter where you look. But thank you for warming my heart with your kind words. I’m always honored when you stop by, and especially proud when you like my photos. Sending you cooling thoughts of ice and snow!

  4. LOL, your last line I read to the Mr while laughing because it’s so darn true. No mosquito’s in Maui…or we haven’t spotted any. We walked a mile back from a restaurant a couple of nights ago after dark. Not a single maddening buzz of mosquito was had. Soooo nice!

    While the weather brings with it a type of expected whining, you’ve captured the beauty well. There’s currently a debate in Edmonton about an anti-icing agent that they’ve tested. It keeps the roads beautifully clear but is really hard on your vehicle unless you keep it washed. But for those who don’t park in a garage, that’s impossible because you’d come out to a giant popsicle 5 minutes later and not be able to get in your car, LOL. xo ❤ K

    • Why does there always have to be a trade-off in life? (The roads are driveable, but your car will rust out in a week.) Sigh. Well … how wonderful to vicariously daydream about what it must be like to walk home from a restaurant. Hope you’re having a wonderful, wonderful time! xx

  5. Wow, although being Finn, I say so. The coldest weather in which I have been was in Jan 10, 1987. The temperature was -34℃ / -29.2℉. How it is possible, that I remember the exactly? It was the day when I was engaged and I walked one-way 4km / 2.5mi to fetch the rings. Then of course walking back to home.

    In Finland we are used to notice more and the official cold figures. It feels colder if there is much humidity in the air and the second thing is how much the wind speed is. We always check the temperature and the speed of wing. Our phones show both of them. So, the real feel on skin is a very important information! In Kittilä, Finland our lowest weather was Jan 28, 1999 -51.5℃ / -60.7℉. Brr!

    Your post and its photos are very interesting to see, how people behave in cold. Nowadays we have excellent winter jackets which resist up to -45ºC / -49.0ºF.

    Do You use studded tires in cars? We have to. What about four-wheel drives? Are You using also anti-skid devices for shoes? Photo of it here:

    Removable anti-skid device for shoes

    Thank You for this lovely post.

    Have a good day!

    • I hope your fiancée thanked you profusely for braving such temperatures to get the ring. (Now it’s ME who is impressed!) And you’re absolutely right that the temperature itself is only one part of the equation — in fact, it was the wind that made the last cold spell so dangerous. Fortunately, we’re back into a more normal weather pattern now so it’s all just a fuzzy memory, ha ha.

      As for tires: Studded tires and chains are illegal in the Twin Cities because four million drivers using them would chew up the roads. Instead, we rely on frequent plowing, salt and sand to keep our roads passable. It’s an imprecise science, though, which can make winter driving here very dangerous sometimes. I do wear Yak Traks on my feet when I expect to walk any distance, though, very similar to the ones in your photo. They do make a big difference, don’t they?

      Well … I must not be tired of winter yet, because I am eagerly awaiting your report from the reindeer races this weekend. Take good care of yourself, and thank you so much for stopping by.

  6. Absolutely stunning shots, Heide. Almost feels like I took a walk in the woods with you. I realize winter is tough in Minnesota (some of my best teenage memories involve running through the cold, not in shorts but certainly not wearing anything as sensible as a hat and scarf!) but I really do miss all the white stuff! And how well you capture the sadness of the one lone mitten…☺️

    • Aww … thank you for making my day with your kind note. I would LOVE your company for a walk in the woods! (And I would follow your maybe poor example and skip the hat too, ha ha.) Thank you so much for stopping by — and if you really do want some white stuff, I can always mail it. 🙂

  7. Several more cold fronts must have moved through Minneapolis-St. Paul, by this time. Really enjoyed these pictures. Is that now-familiar tunnel of trees inside of Minnehaha Park? Or is it someplace closer to home? You sure are hardy souls back there with your thickly-padded parkas and fur-lined hoods which restrict movement turning the simplest tasks into Herculean isometric feats of strength. Was not aware of the fascinating “back-story” of Minnehaha Falls with regard to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and The Song of Hiawatha. When we briefly sojourn in Minneapolis this summer on our way to Duluth and other points I hope you and Esteban will be in town and that perhaps while the boys and their mother are doing something like riding bikes around one of those little lakes right in town, you and I can go for a morning walk in the park to chat. If it’s that sort of place, at any rate. Sounds quite popular but hopefully not a hellhole of tourists buying Wadsworth t-shirts or coffee mugs. And well, it can’t be a super-humid day because I would like to have a coffee to make sure I remember everything I want to talk about and who wants coffee at 100% humidity but then again if it’s August what can you really expect? In which case perhaps you should just take me to your favorite coffee shop and we can enjoy some iced tea before you have to get back to work. Hope this finds you doing well. We’ve had some snow of our own the past couple weeks and I’ve tried to put some notes together for a coherent essay the past day or two but it has been tricky with the boys at home so much for snow days (and so many two hour school delays it would make your head spin) and walking to the grocery store (and school) with potatoes in our coat pockets. Warmest regards to you, Heide.

    • What happiness it brings me to find your kind comment here, dear T-Fir! I’ve been meaning the write you the past couple of days and ask how you and the boys have been faring with all that snow … and now I know. (Pretty much the same as here by the sounds of it, minus the potatoes in the coat pockets. Ha ha.) And how WONDERFUL to hear that you’re planning another trip out this way over the summer. I will correspond in ALL-CAP SUPERLATIVES with you about that via email soon, but suffice it to say I will indeed be in town and keen to show you Minnehaha Falls and maybe that tunnel of trees. And if your family is up for it, let’s also go to the Bell Museum! Well, I feel myself getting all hyper already at the prospect of a visit, so I’ll leave it there for now, except to say YAY! Hang in there with the cabin fever, and remember to remove the coats before you microwave the potatoes. 😉

    • Daily tasks do become quite an onerous chore in these temperatures, dear Alys — but usually we can dress for it if it’s above zero and not too windy. That said, hooray to a true and sustained warm-up! None on the horizon yet, but the way the days are getting longer it’s just a matter of time now. xx

      • I’m enjoying the longer days, too. It’s been “San Jose” cold this week, with temps down to 32 – 35 F at night. We were treated to snow-capped mountains in the foothills surrounding our valley. I’m keeping my lips zipped though, and continue to bow to your weather goddess superiority. xo

        • Oh, no bowing required — i assure you that you’d lose any respect or admiration if you’d heard my whining the last couple of days. 😉 The snow-capped mountains sure sound gorgeous, though. What a lovely sight that must be! I will nod off imagining those silvery peaks on the horizon …

          • You made me laugh! Is raining here again, and while the San Jose area is doing fine, about 100 miles north they’re experience flooding, the worst in two decades. California is having a hard go of it with fires and floods. I fear for our beautiful state. But…those snow-capped hills are a breath of fresh air. I good way to nod off indeed. xo

          • Poor California! Your beautiful state just can’t catch a break, it seems. We’ll have flooding here in the spring, I fear, after just enduring the snowiest February on record. It seems nature has gone mad …. (and can you blame her?). xo

          • I just read your wonderful post, and hadn’t thought about the flooding that comes with snow melt. Yet another weather challenge ahead. My heart is with Alabama this morning. We don’t get tornadoes here. It’s hard to imagine the strength and devastation they bring forth.

          • My heart is with Alabama too, dear Alys. We flew over that storm yesterday on our way to Florida and even at 30,000 feet we could feel its intensity. It’s sad how often I find myself donating to Americares or the Red Cross these days, hoping once again that help can reach those most in need …

          • You are so right. These natural disasters seem to worsen in frequency or severity or both. I can’t imagine what that must have looked like from the air. I’m glad you’ve had some warm, sunny days in Florida to ease your winter blahs. Thank you for continuing to donate to help those in need. You have a good heart.

  8. When it’s cold, I’m wishing it was hot. When it is hot, I’m wishing it was cold.
    Those are beautiful photos. I especially love the one with the glow under the bridge.

  9. I’d love to read all these comments but for now I won’t have the time – just wanted to tell you that my breath froze right over just READING and VIEWING your incredible photos. I thought it was cold when – in another life, many many years ago – I lived through 2 winters in Toronto and/or the two occasions I ventured out to ski in Zermatt (CH) when it was 17°C below zero…. Your stellar pics show the freeze, the incredible cold, the danger, the terror and hell of such a season – how ANYBODY can and wants to live in these temperatures is beyond my comprehension.
    Hero Husband once had a boss from MI and he often told him/us about the low temps – I only could shake my head at such stubbornness, courage and recklessness….

    • Hello Kiki! I hope this post brought back some happy memories of Toronto too, along with a reminder of the cold.

      Although I suppose not many people WANT to live in these temperatures, it isn’t always like this — so I think for a lot of us the many other wonderful things about Minnesota outweigh the (admittedly long and brutal) winters. Maybe my husband won’t feel that way when we get older and we’ll move … or maybe we’ll do like many of our retired neighbors and go elsewhere during the worst of it. But for now this is where our jobs, our friends, and our lives are.

  10. Many smiles here… The bridge… The waterfall… And of course the frog mitten… I was almost tempted to break out the knitting needles… But I’m still playing with my imagination and some string for the moment. 😊 😊 😊

    • Isn’t that frog mitten adorable? Glad it didn’t derail you from your current project, though. Hope you’ve been having some good success on Etsy. xx

      • Not sold anything on Etsy yet Heide, I managed to sell a baby blanket via my Facebook page though.
        To be honest, I didn’t expect much during February, most people are still catching up with an overindulgent December.
        My local craft shelf didn’t have a lot of interest either, but I’m hoping for a little more traffic there once Easter and the summer season arrives, and I’m looking into a bowls and craft event in a couple of weeks … I’m still very much enjoying getting some stock together for a “table-top” sale. 😊

        • What a great outlook you have! I do hope your sales will pick up, though the important thing is enjoying what you do. Cheers, Sallyann!

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