This month, my mind went blank when I was considering what to blog about. So I sought help form a colleague and asked her to “Give me a topic, any topic, for my blog.” She responded instantly, “Dropping temperatures.” So, here it is: an impromptu meditation on dropping temperatures.
In fact, I discover I’m quite interested in this. It took me back to doing nurse training, working on a children’s ward and being asked to give a child a tepid sponge to help bring down a high fever. I remember being amazed at how quickly such a simple, untechnological procedure produced the desired result, a significant drop in temperature. To this day, it’s made me a fan of trying simple measures first for all sorts of things, rather than moving to complex solutions and expert advice immediately. By the way, I’m not advocating that everyone should go for a “do-it-yourself” approach in all circumstances, just sharing that it’s a first line approach which appeals to me.
My second area of interest in dropping temperatures is, unsurprisingly, the weather. You may know that I moved to Minnesota from England. This introduced me to winters with temperatures significantly lower than anything I’d previously experienced. Now, overall, I’m a winter gal and always have been. My mother was a winter person, too. We were both fairly easily sunburnable, loved snow and frosty mornings, especially when Jack Frost would come and draw on the windowpanes (younger readers may need to Google this), enjoyed sitting in front of a roaring open fire, and liked winter clothes better than summer clothes. Hence, I was not put off by tales of harsh Minnesota winters and, indeed, the first winter I spent here was perfect. I arrived in January to a nice layer of snow. Periodically there would be additional snowfalls which kept everything looking white and clean. These usually occurred at night, and every day was sunny with blue skies. Diamonds flashed from the snow when I went on my daily walk, moderately bundled up for highs that were always well into the 20s. Who could ask for anything more?
This initial experience did not prepare me for the subzero temperatures that have occurred every subsequent winter. My family and friends back in England are sometimes amazed by how far the temperature can drop here and human beings not only survive but continue to go about their daily business. I’m lucky in that I have never felt the cold too badly and, at the same time, I rather enjoy basking in people’s admiration for my tolerance of seriously dropped temperatures. That said, I sometimes pine for the weather of that first perfect winter…
I admit that although dropping temperatures in Minnesota have their challenges, I consider the winters as a gift. I still childishly delight in the blue sky days, sparkling snow, winter walks, and a hot steaming beverage to warm me up afterwards. I do not understand why people desert Minnesota for warmer climates in the winter. Seeking a cooler, less humid place in the summer seems reasonable, but I wouldn’t swap my winter home in Minnesota for anything, dropping temperatures and all!
Karen Rose, OSB
Photo: The first snowfall of winter 2022, taken by Amanda Hackett