A few years ago, I was trying to get a friend to move from South Carolina to Minnesota so I could have him closer to me. We had lived near each other in South America, and I missed him. When he returned to his high school friends in South Carolina, he seemed to be lacking that sense of community, a group of liberally minded people pushing personal and societal boundaries in a way that honored our lives in Argentina. I proposed that he come live here. When he booked a ticket to come visit in February, I thought I had lost him to the South forever. Who would come to Minnesota in the dead of winter and ever in their right mind want to stay?
My friend Andrew, that is who. He loved it. And upon reflection, winter is why I love Minnesota, too. There is something about that first gigantic snowfall that feels like South America. Everyone drives slowly enough that if we hit each other, no one will get hurt. We go outside and help our neighbors or a complete stranger get shoveled out. Young boys help push cars over a mound of stubborn snow. People stay in and play board games. We make fires and ask, “Do I really need to go run that errand?” We eat good food that comforts us. Everything becomes an adventure where all senses are heightened. Walking out to the car, waiting for a bus, walking down the street is all done at your own risk. It is a reminder that we are not, in fact, in complete control. A blizzard is a refreshing call back to what is important- being safe and being with family. It brings focus and makes us stop and breaks routine and tells us that the earth really has the final say in how things are going to proceed. It is really God reminding us to slow down and snuggle to keep warm. I love that.