A few days ago was the first day of spring. On that day, my sister called to tell me she just went surfing on the Pacific ocean, my other sister is enjoying toasty temperatures in southern India, my mom was out walking in 60 degree weather in Maryland, and I was freezing in Fargo. In fact, as I am writing this, I’m starring out my apartment window at a terrible winter storm. Never in my life have I seen anything quite like it. Sure, I’ve experience beyond chilly temperatures this winter. Sure, I’ve driven in feet of snow. But never have I seen a snow/sleet storm with thunder and lightening and 30 mph winds.
The weather in the Midwest is something I can never quite explain to people. Friends would call me in January/February and ask how the weather was. I would reply with a, “Well, it was -30 today.” I consider myself well adjusted now that I am not quite as shocked when I see the forecast predict negative temperatures, but it still definitely shakes up my family and friends a bit. In fact, I tried to explain on more than one occasion what -30 feels like being that most of my close contacts assume no human being could function in such extreme temps. My explanation goes something like this: “So you know water freezes at 32 degrees F. That’s pretty cold. So then subtract 32 degrees and you’re at 0 degrees F. So then take the temperature that water freezes at, 32 F, and subtract that from zero. That’s what it feels like. 64 degrees below what water freezes at.”
When I moved here, I thought I was prepared for the worst. Though I thought plugging in your car was only for electric vehicles, I was ready. I even bought an automatic car starter and the largest ice scraper I had ever seen. I soon came to realize, that nothing… absolutely nothing… could prepare me for a Midwest winter. I remember during the first big snow storm, I peered out my window in the morning and was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. Should I go to work? Do I drive? Are you supposed to continue on with your daily activities? Where I was from, a few inches of snow shut everything down. I pulled on my snow boots, zipped up my new down jacket, and headed out the door. After a minor incident of sliding through a stop sign and falling flat on my bottom walking over a sheet of ice, I feel like I have gotten this winter thing down pat. In fact, the other day a friend called to ask about the weather and I said, “Actually, its not bad. It was 26 degrees today!”
I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth, but the truth is, my blood must have thickened since I’ve moved here. There was one night in February when I was working late at an event. It was 15 degrees with no wind chill. A few months ago, I would have thought 15 degrees meant stock up on groceries, stay indoors, and if you have to go outside, wear at a minimum of 5 layers. However on this night in Fargo, people kept commenting on how lovely of night it was for February. No one would ever think a 15 degree night with no wind chill in February is pleasant. No one that is, besides Midwesterners… and now myself.
Happy Spring everyone!