Temperatures in Northeast Ohio have been below freezing for over a week now. Well below, for most of the week. Wind chills occasionally dipped as low as 15° below zero, Fahrenheit. We also got a few rounds of snow throughout the week — including a solid 6-8 inches at the end of last week.
In some ways, this cold snap is annoying. Even if one were to just try to stay inside, the cold just seeps into everything. And then, of course, any venture outside of the home requires significantly more planning: wearing multiple layers… managing snow and ice… watching the weather forecasts for any slight improvement in conditions that would make travel a little easier. I usually like to get around Kent by bicycle, but not when it’s colder than 20° (I’ve reached this threshold through trial and error, and I’ve made a commitment to keeping my hands and fingers fully functional for as long as possible).
In other ways, though, I think I might actually prefer the colder version of winter. Because the powerful winter storms are often succeeded by periods of bright sunshine and blue skies. And the freezing temperatures open up a whole range of other diversions that aren’t available during the drab gray, middling conditions that dominate much of the winter in Northeast Ohio: laughing in the face of winter… skating on top of lakes… going for runs where the condensation from my lungs creates a crusty “ice beard” (six times in a row, over the last eight days!). I never take as many selfies as I do during these cold snaps, and that intrigues me.
I guess I like to think of myself as some snow-encrusted bison, with power, patience, and perseverance written on my face. Maybe it’s just a way of tricking my own mind into surviving the worst that winter can throw at us. Honestly, though, I think it’s just fun. Maybe it’s something deep within my DNA, considering the fact that my ancestors’ homelands of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Upper Great Plains regularly experience their fair share of snow and ice. I honestly don’t know. But I’m going to rejoice in it while I can.