Hush! What a beautiful morning!

PeeZed was spot on when he said that winter here can be

…a bony old hag with knives in her hands who comes howling out of the northwest. Our snow is tiny little flecks of ice that screams in sideways, and what’s on the ground are hard pans of icy white grit scoured and scored by the wind. We have a fierce kind of winter here, not the friendly scenic kind.

But there are also times, like last night, when she sits quietly through the long night with her brush, covering every twig and branch with the thick hoare frost, and one wakes up to the muted light of the fog and the muted sound of the snow. It makes me feel like singing, if but softly.

So, frankly, she’s a schizoid. You can guess which of these faces is better company when Sub-Evil and I are doing our half hour morning walk to school together!

And while I’m going on about winter, I’ll point everyone to Lance Fortnow’s recent interaction with winter in the South. Having grown up in Texas (and done my graduate work in Austin), I know all too well what he means about whole towns shutting down because of a little ice. It took me several years to really adapt to the winters here in Minnesota. In my early days I used to just stop in mid-lecture and stare out the window, amazed at how much snow was coming down (or blowing by). The students mostly thought I was nuts, but they were patient with the Strange Foreigner, and I’ve learned to cope much better now. Thank you for asking.

In my 14.5 years here, I think that UMM has closed once for a day because of weather, and most everyone regarded that as a mistake. If you’re in town things are much more sheltered from the howling winds than out in the country (which can easily make a difference of 10 degrees F or more to the wind chill), and the distances are just too short to not get out and walk. So we get a nice e-mail from the admins around the time of the first big storm reminding us that, while school is still on, people (students, faculty, and staff) who live out in the country may not make it in, or may make it late, and that needs to be OK. I had three students who had trouble getting back to UMM after Thanksgiving because of the weather (therein lie some great stories, but no time now), but they eventually got here safely and we coped.

Toto knows you’re not in Texas anymore when you get a matter-of-fact e-mail saying they’re closing one of the campus parking lots so they can use it for snow storage…

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One Response to Hush! What a beautiful morning!

  1. Sage says:

    … it is rough all over. Here in the Willamette Valley it was so cold this morning that the fog froze for a couple of minutes before the sun came out.

    Happy Holidays

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