The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 3, 2014

Thumb nose at winter by enjoying it

Why it matters: If we can't change winter, we have to make the most of it to survive it.

The “normal” winter never showed up. Despite some predictions of high temperatures becoming more average in the 20- to 30-degree range last month, it didn’t happen. The deep freeze is deeper than we figured and so is the snow.

Enough is enough. We can’t keep waiting for normal. If we can’t beat winter, we’ve got to join it.

That doesn’t mean taking a drive when highway officials advise staying off ice-covered roads; yet it doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch with another bag of chips and give in to Netflix. (And yes, the newly released episodes of “Breaking Bad” are gripping, but they don’t have to be watched in one day.)

Do as the kids did at North Mankato’s Wheeler Park and be so anxious to get the most out of winter that you are on the rink as the city machinery clears newfallen snow. Be like the guy passing through downtown on his bike nearly every day this winter, covered with helmet, balaclava, goggles and unseen layers of clothing. Follow the tracks of the skier who breaks the trail in Mankato’s F.A. Buscher Park.

Scared of breaking a hip or getting frostbite? Go to a concert, a play, an art exhibit, a reading, a film. They are all offered at community venues and on our college campuses. Take a community education class, join a recreational sports team, swim laps at the YMCA. Medical experts tout the benefits of exercise for battling depression or metabolism slowdown. (Don’t pretend you haven’t packed on a few pounds trying to find solace in “comfort” food.)

If you just can’t bring yourself to face the outdoors and you can’t book at trip out of here, at least bring people to you. Have a party, host a neighborhood potluck, bake bread with a friend. Social contact is a proven key to happiness.

We don’t have to give in to winter. We just have to make the most of it, even if it means getting out of the house to buy another shovel.

Text Only | Photo Reprints