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Opinion

Winter’s approach brings peace of mind

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November 13, 2008

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s getting cold enough at night to frost up our car windows, the colorful autumn leaves have died and fallen and there’s little or no snow to make up for their absence.

Everything’s very drab and chilly. However, this doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother some other people, and there’s a reason for that: winter is my favorite season.

Why, you might ask? At the risk of sounding clichŽd, I guess it just makes me feel alive. Cold temperatures keep me more alert and focused on whatever I’m supposed to be doing. Who needs coffee in the morning when you already have a blast of subzero wind in your face? (Well, I still need it, but that’s just me).

Another benefit is that I have an excuse to wear warmer clothes. I have never been known for my fashion sense, and at least winter gives me an excuse to dress poorly. Loose long-sleeved shirts in dreary colors and sweat pants, sometimes under jeans, are par for the course.

I also enjoy watching winter sports, especially hockey. I used to go to all of my team’s home games back in high school. It made for some of the best entertainment I’ve seen live-we had some great victories, some crushing defeats and plenty of games in between.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any UW-River Falls hockey games yet. I’m only on campus three days a week, and I drive back to Minnesota in the afternoon, which can also be a lot more interesting in winter.

Finally, this season is special to me because of its weather. I love watching snow, the heavier the better, although shoveling it is a different story. Huge hills of it used to build up on my elementary school playground. There were some epic battles on those hills, usually involving snowballs.

It hardly ever seems to snow like that anymore. Snow days were awesome, too. When I was a kid, there was nothing better than an excuse to stay home from school.

But I think the best place to be in the winter is a large open space, with plenty of snow, late at night when you can see all the stars. It’s an almost magical environment. I still remember getting together one night with my high school astronomy class to see the constellations.

Shutting out the cold with layers of winter clothing and plenty of hot chocolate, we studied the amazing sky and searched for order and arrangement among that seemingly chaotic mass of stars.

Technically, that order was meaningless. The constellations just existed in our minds; only the stars themselves were real. And they’ll always be there for us to look at and appreciate-just like winter.

So the next time you’re waiting forever for your car to heat up, or hiding your face in your coat like a turtle’s shell to shield yourself from the wind… don’t forget that these Midwestern winters have a beauty all their own. I’m looking forward to this one.