Sunday, June 14, 2009

North vs South: Weathering the Seasons

It's a beautiful Sunday morning in Minnesota...not too warm or too chilly, with just a hint of crispy goodness in the air. Having lived in Georgia, Florida, and now Minnesota, I've had the, um, unique opportunity to experience extreme weather of all varieties. Here are some of my observations.

* My naturally wavy (read:frizzy) hair prefers the mostly drier temperatures in Minnesota. Here, I receive compliments on my lovely locks. In Florida, I get mistaken for Gabe Kaplan...

* I'd be a big fat liar if I said that the month of January in Minnesota is tropical, or even fit for human habitation on some days. If you've never felt frigid air assault your face to the tune of a -30 degree windchill, you... well, let's just say you're probably pretty fortunate. There's something uniquely cold about weather like that. When you breathe, the inside of your nose literally freezes and your lungs ache when the icy air invades them. Granted, the entire winter is not that glacial. There's nothing like waking up to a sunny, 30 degree day with fresh snow on the ground. It's gorgeous and the untouched blankets of white shimmer like tiny diamonds. Truly, the scene is breath-taking.

* As much as I am a baby about the extreme cold, I also am not a fan of sweating. During drastic temps in the north or the south, I avoid the outdoors. And make offerings to the gods of heating and air conditioning.

* I miss the year-round flowers and greenery in the south. Here, there is a season. You cannot plant anything before the end of May and it all dies in October. Then comes the snow...

* With regard to snow, I've observed two specific breeds of people: people who are winter sports enthusiasts and can't wait to haul out the snowmobile or hit the slopes and then there are those that complain incessantly about the Minnesota winters. The latter group never fails to confuse me. I know it's somewhat fashionable to fuss about the frigid temps and frozen precipitation, but then please tell me....why do you live here? You've lived here all your life and are surprised that it can snow 10 inches at a time? Please....

* I do not miss the oppressive summer heat. In Minnesota, we do endure some pretty warm days...some days our temps are warmer than that of Florida or Georgia, reaching in the upper 90's and even 100 on occasion. And because of all the lakes, the air can also get pretty humid. Welcome Back, Kotter!

* There's an incredible amount of clothing to keep track of when you live in the north. This can be a nightmare if you have children who are constantly losing a glove, leaving snow pants at school and, grow out of snow boots halfway through the winter. I miss living in a place where you only need a jacket and an occasional hat and knit gloves in the winter.

I suppose that no matter where you live, there will be something weather-related to complain about and then there will be days where it feels amazing to be alive. In my heart, I will always be a southern girl and no matter how many Minnesota winters I endure, I'll always be an import. I'll never ice fish and the prospect of riding a snowmobile makes by bottom hurt. But I wouldn't trade the picture-perfect autumns, the silent beauty of the first snow fall, or the 80 degree summer days. And when the air is thick and soupy with humidity, I'll flip on the air conditioning, throw on a hat, watch Welcome Back Kotter reruns, and eat a big bowl of grits-n-shrimp.

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