no hay mal...

The mother of all winters. 49 days at or below zero. Piles of snow taller than people. Polar vortex after polar vortex. Blizzards, deep freezes, and slippery road conditions. Welcome to the Minnesota winter experience.

If you Google "how to survive a Minnesota winter," or "things to do in Minnesota during winter," you will find encouragement to continue to enjoy the outdoor activities so popular in this great state. Hiking, snow shoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing. I have had to refrain from throwing my laptop across the living room at the discovery of these suggestions, as anyone with a small child at home can relate to. Not only would it be impractical to bring a child along on (most of) these adventures, but incredibly dangerous given the weather we have had thus far.

I would be hopeful that spring is coming as the advent of March approaches, but then I hearken back to the previous winter, during which I genuinely thought I would be giving birth during a snowstorm. My due date was June 3rd. Yes. Snowstorms through the month of May made outdoor "spring" sports near impossible. It doesn't give me much hope that the White Witch's spell will end any time soon.

I'm sounding pretty bitter at this point, aren't I? If you could hear me read these paragraphs aloud, though, you would realize that I'm saying them with an incredulous grin at the absurdity of it all. You would hear me chuckle about last year's winter extending all the way into the summer months. You know, taking it all in stride because I'm a Midwesterner, of German and British and Scandinavian stock. But you would also detect the crazy eyes, and you would probably hear my laugh turn slightly maniacal, driven to the brink of insanity by being shut indoors for days on end.

So anyway, the point of this is not to get anyone to feel sorry for me; Minnesota is not the only state surviving this vindictive winter. It is not to ask for advice on how to get through it, because we all do that the same way - one day at a time. It is simply to observe that there is some good to come out of this ridiculous season of my life. There is a saying in Spanish: no hay mal que por bien no venga. There is no bad from which good does not come.

So, in the same way I encourage my young volleyball players to learn from their losses instead of being sad about them, in the same way I appreciate paying for college myself because it helped me learn to be frugal and manage money, I think there is some good and some wisdom to come from this punishing cold.

We are going to appreciate this summer. A lot. Because, dang it, we worked for it.

We are going to spend every waking moment outdoors. We are going to have drinks on patios, and hike, and explore, and eat ice cream, and sit on a bench and take in the sun. And we are going to love every second of that humidity and heat. I am going to buy a pair of $2.50 flip flops from Old Navy and wear them until they have conformed to my feet. And then I will kick off those cheap sandals and feel the blades of grass in between my toes. And it shall be glorious.

You should have seen the people here in the Twin Cities when we had an almost 40° day a few weeks back. Picture the people of Munchkinland after the Wicked Witch of the West was killed. That was us. Doing heel clicks and skipping and patting our neighbors on the back with a wink and a smile.

If 40° can do that to us, imagine what 70° will feel like.

No hay mal que por bien no venga. We can't have the good without the bad. We can't have the sun without the dark. We can't have the warm without the cold. The good will come.

no hay mal que por bien no venga

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