Those of you in warm climates may not understand, but life is generally more difficult during the winter months in Minnesota. A short story to support this bold yet oh-so-softly phrased statement is below.
I’d planned a February girl’s trip to my lake house in northern Minnesota. The plan was for me and one bestie to get up there, crank up the heat, haul the luggage and groceries inside, then head to a desolate but nearby bar that served a surprisingly nice selection of wines. After that, we’d laugh our way back to the toasty cabin, get in our p.j.’s, make all the beds for the other girls arriving the next day, and then settle in with more treats for an up-all-night-solving-the-world’s-problems gabfest!
It was not to be. I have a service that regularly plows my cabin’s driveway after a snow event, but for some dumb reason, I’d forgotten about the large snowbanks that plowing created. In order to get into my cabin, we’d have to traverse the deep banks. My girlfriend and I had arrived late, and only had about ten minutes of light left in the day. It was 20 degrees BELOW zero, the temperature falling, and we had about a dozen hauls of groceries, booze, and luggage to get into the cabin. Knowing our choices were to leave and go to a hotel (which would ruin the weekend plans), trek through the snow, or literally die, we chose to become artic avengers.
I grabbed a couple bags of groceries and took my first step into the snow. Sinking to my thigh, my boot filled with snow, and my eyeballs froze behind my completely fogged glasses. The wind howled and the darkness loomed as I made a second step. Then yanking a knee high, I took a third step, and forth as I plowed a pathway with my body toward the steps up to my cabin. But there were no steps to be seen, only a slope of snow. Blindly, I crawled, pushed, and kicked, as I worked through the snow, my jeans stiff, and face frozen. The molecular strength of the paper grocery bag gave way and wine bottles scattered, disappearing into the deep snow. By God, I’m hero, I thought, giving myself a self-affirmation as I threw my other bag onto a riser above me and dug, saving the bottles from their darkened wells.
This is bullshit, was my second thought. My third, you have no choice. No one was coming to help us. “We’re not going back out,” I yelled through the wind to my friend in the dark as she traversed the same arduous path behind me.
“What about takeout?” she called. “Do you think they’ll deliver?”
“What? No one’s coming out here and tunneling through this mess. I don’t even know the address.” (Sad, but true. The address is some long county road mile marker thing that I’ve never bothered to memorize. It’s written on a torn piece of paper and stuck with yellowed tape to the inside of the liquor cabinet.) We couldn’t even reach the address if we didn’t make it inside. The fact that my sweet friend had just bravely born the rehab of hip replacement also weighed heavily on my mind. What if one of us is injured, what if, what if.
But full disaster didn’t strike. We burned off about 2,000 calories each on our exertion, – the accuracy of the math was not scientifically calculated or closely examined as we drank and ate from our stores. And it was a good night. We slept well. But then a stupid covid diagnosis took down another friend and more snow threatened. Drinking coffee and not a Bloody Mary, (more hero points here), I peered out the window of the cabin, down at my lonely car, and envisioned all the shoveling required if more snow boxed my car in, let alone the driveway. Who knew when my rural plow service would show up? I’m sure my lonely driveway in the woods wasn’t their top priority.
And so we made the hard decision to leave. After one night. Driving home through blizzardy snow felt pretty much right on track with the rest of the short trip. But we had each other, my friend and me. And laugh, we still did.
No thanks to you, winter. I rest my case.