I’ve been in Michigan for 4 months now. Seeing as how it is mid-January, it is safe to say I’m well into my first Michigan Winter as well. So far, I’d say it is…bearable. I’m only a few miles from the lake shore, so lake effect snow is a very real thing here. Since day 1 of moving here people have warned me about the dreaded ‘Michigan Winter’. It honestly started to feel like every person I met felt a great need to warn me of what I was soon to encounter. Initially I just gave them a blank stare and responded with “I’m from Iowa. I’ve been through winter.” My brother and I have joked about this as he has been here through 4 Michigan Winters. Here’s the thing: yes, there is more snow here, BUT, at least you can BREATHE!
Today, the high in my area was 13. People at work and church couldn’t stop talking about the cold. Sure, 13 isn’t a balmy, warm, comfortable temp, but at least I didn’t choke on the air when I tried to take a breath. You see, in Iowa, 13 would be a decent January day, especially if there wasn’t a wind, much like how it was this morning here. Last Sunday I was in Iowa. When I went out to my car at 6:30 am, it was -16. Actual temp. -16. We won’t even talk about the windchill. (…-29…). It was brutal. I walked from my hotel room, 30 feet to my car, and was chilled to the bone. The wind whipped across my face and left behind red, wind-burnt skin. I’m not much of a runner (I don’t run), but any time we stopped that day, let’s just say Usain Bolt would have been impressed by how fast I got from the car to the building.
As I approached the Michigan border and realized I’d soon be back in the territory of “Michigan Winters”, I was thankful. Sure, there was snow on the ground. Sure, I’d have to shovel my driveway. Sure, I’d have to keep an eye on other drivers more closely since all common sense is somehow usurped when there is snow on a roadway. But I was ready for all that. Michigan was a balmy 20 degrees that night! When I lived in Iowa and saw 20 degrees during winter I generally didn’t take a coat with me to the store. At 20 degrees, the actual temperature difference from Iowa was 36 degrees warmer! Seriously! How many of you think 20 degrees sounds cold enough? How do you feel when you think about dropping it another 36 degrees?!
So yea, this whole “Michigan Winter” thing just hasn’t scared me off quite yet. I literally broke a sweat while shoveling out my driveway the other morning, before the sun was even up. The only moisture my body ever felt while shoveling in Iowa was the little ice crystals melting off my eyelashes when I walked back inside. I think as long as I can breathe while being outdoors this Michigan Winter and I will get along just fine.