Garrison Keillor once wrote that in Minnesota, people do not complain about the cold. You see, everyone can feel it, so why complain. I do not quite live in Minnesota, and my wife is a southern girl, so there is plenty of complaining in my house. I personally like the cold, all of the bugs die and you have a reason to stay snug in your house with a fire on the hearth and hot cocoa in your mug.

Today will be cold across most of the nation, with temperatures even tumbling in Texas and Florida. I live about 250 miles straight west of Chicago. We expect morning temperatures to be near single digits, with a wind chill near zero all day (Fahrenheit not Celsius). Although I sometimes walk to work, tomorrow will not be one of those days. I will, however, still brave the cold to go to a gym to work out.

I still have a positive attitude about winter. We have had our first snow fall, it was only about two inches and the streets are already cleared. The sky as been clear, so the sun is bright, making the scenery especially nice. This feeling will change by the time February rolls around. Eighty days of cold with increasing cloudiness makes thing dreary. I do not often suffer from cabin fever, but I know a lot of people who do.

The best solution to cold weather is to actually get out in it. Breathe deeply the clean air. Feel the cold penetrate where you have not covered sufficiently. Move around and, after experiencing nature to its fullest, retreat to the comfort of your home or office. A short experience of the harshness of the season will make the comforts that much more delectable.

A couple of years ago, I drove by a construction site about this time of year. It was cold with sleet coming down. I commented that I was glad not to have that job. My teenage son disagreed. What could be better than getting to work outside? Especially when working on something you could point at to say you had built it? I appreciate his enthusiasm. Those men and women do have something to hold on to. I still have my comfortable office, which I still will not trade. Perhaps that kind of enthusiasm wanes with age (and stiffness).

I know that several negative twenty degree days are ahead. We can only hope that they are not consecutive. The local weather forecaster has asked “Is it cold enough for you?” My answer is yes. I am so glad that I live in an age and country with modern conveniences such as central heating. Keep writing and stay warm.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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