Winter wanes and what’s been done

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

No sense talking about weather. You know what’s been done. Another winter in northern Minnesota just passed, technically. The equinox came and went. We’re tilting toward the sun, into the warmth. Sure, the air is still cold. Sure, the wind still blows. Sure, we’re encased in ice. Still. For some time, too. Sure, all of that is true, but what’s to say about the weather? You’re going to curse it? Now? After all this? No sense in talking about weather.

People want to know how you survive a thing like this. This winter. This long greedy winter that took November from Fall and March from Spring. This long winter that might take more. This long winter that cannot be called dead until green flags fly from every tree branch. People want to know how we survived, and why.

On one hand, such a simple answer. You dress in layers. You cover your skin. You mind the conditions before you go outside. The End. But we know that’s not the answer, not the real answer. Because the layers you wear go all the way past the skin, into your hearts and mind. You dress in emotional layers, too. In a winter like this we dress for extremes, and not just the wind chills and below zero temperatures. We dress for emotional extremes.

We tighten the scarf for depression. You can’t mess around with that one. Get out of bed. Get your clothes on. A wicking layer keeps us from sweating too much during the joyful times. Joy can turn quick. You must retain your joy, and cover it up when the winds change. You might need joy to last you a good long time. If you leave your joy out in the open, though, it will freeze. And frozen joy is depression. See above.

You’ve got to find a project. A winter project. Some people like skiing, snow shoeing, snowmobiling and the like. You folks know what to do. But for the rest of us, idle thought will drag us down to a frozen dungeon without some proper planning.

Some of us write our way through times like this. We are the mad ones. Writing in winter is like construction in winter. Harder. More necessary. All this fades now. Winter is over. Almost. The zipper is ajar. Water moves. The earth tilts toward the sun. It is true. This is happening, now.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Sunday, March 30, 2014 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.



  1. Jay Peters says

    Mr. Brown,
    Just read your blog entry for the Star Tribune re: Trampled by Turtles. Then I went to your Minnesota Brown blog and read a few of your pieces. I was especially struck by your thoughts on Winter! I am a native Minnesotan who still calls it home, but I have not lived there for almost 15 years. My family and I live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My wife and I are teachers at the International School of Kuala Lumpur and our three children are either still here with us or going to University in the U.S. Anyway, I always try to keep my feet grounded in MN by keeping up with the news; especially more regional news and views from the further flung areas of the state. I’m glad I found your site. Your observations of winter are so familiar to me even after so many years. I have only experienced a MN winter once, for a very short time, since 2000. As you know KL and Malaysia are tropical. And while I have become quite acclimated to it and quite honestly prefer it to those hard winters, I have a special place in my mind for winter memories. Thanks!
    Jay Peters

    • Thank you for the kind words, Jay! Normally I’d be jealous of your tropical talk, but the spring is coming. It’s sunny today and the lake is open. Good times ahead. 🙂 Regards to you and yours.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.