One Forgets

Winter version of Lake Harriett Bandshell .

Winter version of Lake Harriett Bandshell.

Four winters in Southern California and suddenly all is new again with the Minnesota version of this season.

That crinkly sensation from frozen nose hairs? Ah yes – there it is.

Duck stepping along the yet-to-be-shoveled back walk? Treads become a necessary feature of all footwear.

The shock of temperatures on the negative teens side of the scale? Layers, layers, layers, and don’t forget the gloves.

Hand cream, and lots of it, is always in my bag and face cream is not optional for those of us who are of a certain age. It’s remarkable how drying a deep cold can be.

I expected it to be dry in the desert Southwest. But I forgot that the desert has nothing over a walk on a frozen lake at 15 below zero. Your body screams for moisture when back inside – well, moisture and heat.

I remember my mom and her cold cream – Pond’s Cold Cream. She was very disciplined about her nightly ritual that involved a healthy slather on her face and neck. And now that I’m older than she ever experienced, I’m finding that her discipline was something I should have picked up a decade or so ago. Ah well – we start where we are.

There are other things I forgot about winter in Minnesota.

I forgot the deep urge to gather friends around a table laden with steaming soup to share stories and argue politics in the safety of the progressive predictability of this state.

I forgot how comfortable a crackling fire could be with a wind blown sound track taking place safely outside of the house

I forgot about the different types of snow that keep it interesting, ranging from micro, fluttery snow flakes to those big massive flakes that hit like a cold wet kiss on your check.

I forgot about “stupid cold weather tricks” that include this year’s phenomenon of posing frozen pants in the yard. We haven’t gotten around to flinging pans of boiling water into freezing air to hear the crackle and pop as it crystalizes. Nor have we blown soap bubbles to watch them freeze and shatter as they hit the ground. Yet.

And I forgot about the deep clear blue of a Minnesota sky that can light up the snow, making the world sparkle for the day.

Yes, my California friends, it’s still good to be home despite the 80-degree difference in temperature. Once you’ve experienced 15 below, the rest is balmy.