Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Dreading our next Arctic blast here in Minnesota January 3, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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I’VE EVOLVED INTO A WINTER weather wimp. Truly.

I photographed these winter enthusiasts heading up the hill to the park to go sledding.

I photographed these winter enthusiasts across the street from my home a few days ago as they headed up the hill to the park to go sledding. And, yes, I shot this image through a window so I didn’t have to step outside.

There was a time, many decades ago, when I actually thrilled in snow and cold—tunneling into snowbanks, building snow forts, packing snowballs, sledding, running up and down the mounds of snow Dad pushed from the driveway and farmyard into make-believe mountains.

I role-played a Canadian Mountie driving a dogsled across those mountains and across rock-hard snowdrifts.

I battled against my brothers with stockpiled snowballs.

I gripped the baler twine handle of the old runner sled as I raced across the yard.

I loved to skate upon patches of ice in the field or at the ice pond in town.

Those were the days.

Later, when I had my own kids, I played outside in the snow with them, slid down the hill at the nearby park, even ice skated occasionally and once snowshoed with my family at the local nature center.

On New Year’s Day, I suggested to my husband that we take a walk at River Bend Nature Center. But then I stepped outside to shake out a rug.

“Uh, I’ve changed my mind about that walk,” I said. “It’s too cold.” Temps were in the sub-zero to slightly above zero Fahrenheit range. Too cold. Way too cold.

The low temp in Embarrass, 90 miles north of Duluth on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, plunged to 46 degrees below zero Fahrenheit on Thursday. That’s cold. Way too cold.

Winter no longer appeals to me. Rather, it rates as mostly an unpleasant season to endure with snow to shovel, icy/snowy surfaces to traverse and travel, and frigid cold to withstand, although beauty does exist in a snowy landscape.

The upcoming days will surely test my winter endurance. The National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minnesota, is forecasting the following:


Now doesn’t that sound fabulous?

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


37 Responses to “Dreading our next Arctic blast here in Minnesota”

  1. Got Coffee!!!!!

    Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I, too, am a winter weather wimp. I did the same–loved playing in the snow as a kid and with my own boys but now I hate it. I love the first snow that is light and pretty and fluffy and white but then I am over it. We are hoping to get an earlier flight back on Sunday so at least we won’t be driving Sunday night in the winds and super cold. Time will tell if that works out but once I am home you can bet I will be staying in and not doing ANYTHING outside—the shoveling that I am sure is awaiting me will wait a bit longer. Those temps are ridiculous. Stay warm, my friend. Stay warm.

    • I wondered when you were due back in Iowa. The wind is wicked strong here today. But at least the temp feels warmer. Just a short reprieve.

      Be safe on your drive home and remember that we have an extra bed should you and Chris ever need it.

      I was so thankful Caleb didn’t have to fly back to Boston this week. What a mess for anyone heading east.

  3. Brrrr….I mean Grrrrrr. I am right there with you. I have been an outdoors person all my life in all the seasons. These last few years I have grown to despise this arctic season. As an avid outdoors person I have all the gear necessary to be comfortable and I no longer have any desire to use any of it. As a photographer though, I sometimes force myself to get out there as this season does produce some pretty amazing natural scenes. I only wish the bottom was 20 degrees. When it is so cold that you cannot expose flesh for more than 5-10 minutes that is just ridiculous. I will be monitoring http://bereadymn.com to see if the governor shuts down the state. If he has any sense he will. There is nothing that important that needs to happen in these conditions. The obvious exception are law enforcement and emergency personnel. I am thankful for and appreciate the jobs they do very much. Stay warm Audrey!

    • Grrrrrrr seems a most fitting response, Dan. The older I get, the less I like winter and I expect many folks feel that way.

      I’m glad you mentioned the photography bit because it’s been awhile since I’ve really had my camera out shooting. And that’s because of the cold and snow. I don’t enjoy freezing my fingers, even though I have those gloves where if can slip my fingers out and keep the rest of my hand inside the glove. Still…

      Also, thanks for mentioning bereadymn. I’ve never heard of that website. I remember once a number of years back when the governor ordered all Minnesota schools closed because of the extreme cold.

  4. hacken2013 Says:

    I’ve always loved the updates on the temperature in Embarrass MN on the news. I really think as a state we deserve more credit for its existence! LOL

  5. It’s not being wimpy – it’s feeling the bony wisdom gained from years of work. These bones have carried us many a mile and deserve some relief from the cold! Enjoy watching frost flowers bloom on the window – as you sit inside and keep toasty warm.

  6. I can truly say I do not miss MN Winters – brrrr!!! Suppose to hit the 60s here – I do not think the weather here knows it is Winter – ha! Happy Weekend:)

  7. hacken2013 Says:

    This just in! State of MN has closed all schools for Monday! I work at a public school and just got the word from HR. It isn’t up on bereadymn.com yet but it should be soon!

  8. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    I’m with you, girl! This winter seems tougher than usual. The single digits and below zero temps are getting to me!

  9. Carol Johansen Says:

    When I was a kid living in suburban Washington, DC, if it snowed we knew we’d have to get out to play in it before school because it would all be gone by the time we got home. This has never been a problem in Minnesota!

  10. Okay, I am going to be contrary here….sort of. When the weather encourages us to stay inside, then that is the perfect time to find our favorite indoor things to do and relish the time to do them. Yes, I have dogs I have to take out every single day, and tasks to do that force me outdoors, but I still love hunkering down and cooking, reading, watching something mindless on t.v., snuggling, that kind of thing. I’m grateful for the garage that allows my car to start in any weather, for a fireplace that works, for warm clothes. I’m grateful I can share this space with people who might need it. Winter gives us a scale upon which to base our enjoyment of the other seasons. Maybe I’ll feel differently when my old bones ache all winter long, but this next Arctic blast is just a reminder that maybe we aren’t in charge here, so we might as well figure out how to work with it.

  11. treadlemusic Says:

    Forecast for -30F on the thermometer Sunday and Monday nights with the HIGH for Monday to be -18F. I’m in prayer for us all and those who are faced with various risks. I’m glad that the schools are closed!!!!

  12. hotlyspiced Says:

    It’s certainly a very pretty landscape but I too, am absolutely hopeless with the cold. Whenever we holiday I look to go somewhere warmer than Sydney – never colder! I wish you well with surviving the coming sub-zero temperatures – not good! xx

  13. Jackie Says:

    hummmmm, ahhh, well, ummmmm. Yep It’s gonna be cold….A true Minnesota cold 🙂
    I will probably throw my coat on Monday morning as I head out the door to work. I have yet to wear a coat, so you know it’s cold if Jackie is wearing a coat. Hope you stay warm Audrey I know winter is not for you :/

  14. I love that you played RCMP! I am thankful for the governor’s decision about school on Monday…I think that was very wise.

    • Yes, there was some TV show with Sgt. Preston of the RCMP, which is why we pretended to be Mounties.

      I agree on the governor’s decision, too. People are really out and about today. The gas station was crazy busy.

  15. ryanware Says:

    C’mon Audrey we did have four whole months without snow in 2013.

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