Winter has finally settled over Minnesota, as we knew it eventually would.
All talk of a mild winter, or even of a winter delayed until April, has dispersed in a wind so cold, your very eyeballs seem to rattle in their sockets. Your ears, long past turning red, become identical pieces of plastic, which can be broken off with the mere touch of a mittened hand.
Walking to class is excruciating. You want nothing more than to run, to escape the cold and the wind and the pelting snow, but it’s too late; the minute you stepped outside your blood began to thicken, and now it seems to swell in your veins until every step is difficult, every thought of running impossible.
Figures brush past you on the sidewalk, people rendered unrecognizable by blowing drifts that sift around them in sinister whirlwinds. These figures move from building to building clutching at books and at whipping scarves. Once inside, their coats melt off to reveal layers of sweaters and jeans and heavy socks. They’re Minnesota stock, and although winter never ceases to be a shock when it arrives full fury, they know how to dress for it when it comes. Their ancestors braved German and Swedish winters huddled around wood fires with piles of darning and tin pots of coffee. We can only expect to do the same, relying on textbooks and Red Bull to fuel our survival.
We are the newest generation to build a living on the prairie, and we feel its wind as much as anyone. It revolves our turbines and makes ruddy our cheeks. But we learn, nonetheless, and we will be here when spring comes. Although Mother Nature perhaps cannot see that there our people beneath the layers of wool coat and polyester sweatshirt, she will halt her wrath in a few months to check that we are safe. Even she has grown fond of watching us tramp the grasses of the Pomme de Terre, for every so often, one of us will stop to take a closer look.
It is for that reason that Spring will surely come, sometime.