The Twin Cities went through a serious cold snap last week, recording the lowest temperatures in five years. This was accompanied by winds that gusted at 40 mph, the kind of weather that gets kids a day off of school. It was just a week where you couldn’t go outside much. The Miami Heat players chose to walk the skyways from their hotel to Target Center, rather than have to go outside to get from the hotel to the bus. I knew the Wolves should have never stopped playing outside; the Heat would have cooled off considerably!
The thaw came Saturday, when we awoke to temps of 21 degrees and only mild winds, for a windchill of 5. The fact that either one of those numbers was not negative was a big deal. You’d be amazed how tolerable a 5 degree windchill can feel after a week of -25. But you can do it, particularly if you are moving around. Mostly, people here force themselves to do it. Extreme cold is a part of the heritage and identity of this place, and when you find yourself standing in zero degree weather for an hour and thinking it’s not bad, it gives the brain and ego a little jolt.
It may have been the extreme cold, but I thought I could see a little bit of a twinkle in the eyes of the other people with us at the park yesterday morning. “This is how it should be,” we thought to ourselves as we clutched our coffee or cocoa without even the slightest shiver, or even better, held nothing warm at all in a show of tough-minded defiance of the cold. Cold allows you to master cold. When you don’t face cold, like the poor Miami Heat, it will defeat you. That cold snap was tough, but we emerged a tougher people, more in touch with our place in history. And most important, able to tolerate even colder temperatures.
Then, at 10:15 sharp, a horn blew. The lesson was over, and all the fortitude and determination of the morning immediately and with much haste bee-lined for the chalet to get cocoa and coffee. It turns out -5 degrees is still very cold, and we had all had quite enough of that.