I abhor snow. I despise ice. The razor sharp edge of a howling north wind, the hours of darkness, the scraping, scratching, sniffling and shoveling, the huffing, puffing, panting and freezing – I hate it all. I hate spending three months behind a pair of fogged-up eyeglasses. I hate brushing snow off my car only to have it blown back into my face. I hate having my car encrusted with frozen sludge and having icebergs floating across my garage floor.
Of the four seasons, winter is the most insistent, unreasonable and demanding. Each season gives us some extra burden: raking in the spring and fall; mowing and weeding in the summer. Yet those seasons give us some slack. If we don’t feel like cutting grass, fine, we can let it go a couple of days. But when winter surrounds our cars with rock-hard, three-foot-deep drifts of snow on a work day, procrastination isn’t an option. We dig. When grass is mowed, it stays mowed for a reasonable period of time. Shoveled snow, however, doesn’t stay shoveled. I resent a season that gets in my face and says, “Do it now.”
I resent a season that takes the simplest activities and multiplies them by a difficulty factor of two, four or more. Need to take the trash to the curb? In spring that may mean a nice leisurely stroll with a pause here and there to take in the fresh air and gaze at the stars. In winter it becomes a perilous journey as hazardous as an aerialist performing a high-wire act without a net – a life-threatening race against the clock to complete the round trip before one’s core body temperature plummets to absolute zero.
Winter even robs us of our dignity. What happens if you wash your hair on a winter morning, pull a stocking cap over your head, and then spend twenty minutes chiseling ice off your car windows? You show up at work looking like one of those pointy-headed lawn gnomes.
I’m very grateful that here in the northern climes, this most abysmal time of the year coincides with the beginning of the new year. It gives us a clear advantage over those poor souls residing in balmy, sun-drenched locales. Without the beneficial distraction of 20 below temperatures, many of these people are undoubtedly focusing on the current economic problems and becoming consumed with worry. Here in Minnesota, winter prevents us from becoming sidetracked by such petty issues. It keeps us focused on the really important things, like staying alive.
Starting the New Year from the darkest, bitterest, most unpleasant point of the year provides a great psychological boost: things only get better from here. By the time spring rolls around, we Minnesotans are feeling so good, disappointing news doesn’t even phase us. We’re ready to whip our weight in polar bears.
The January issue of Connect Business Magazine is always special since it is where we recognize the Business Person of the Year for our readership area along with the first and second runner-up. We’re sure you will enjoy reading about these individuals and the contributions they have made in business and to their communities. We’d like to thank everyone who nominated a businessperson for consideration and the MSU College of Business professors who served as our judges for the fourth consecutive year.
While the economic outlook at the time of this writing is not rosy, our region has fared generally well. The diversity of our regional economy has been a key factor. We hope your business is doing well and wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous New Year.