The current Shelter-in-Place order has been difficult for everyone around the country and the world. Personally, I believe that it is harder for Minnesotans than anyone else. We might even be more special that Californians in this regard. The reason is this: In Minnesota, we shelter in place for about eight months out of the year. We think of Ground Hog’s Day as just another reason to make a hot dish casserole, because we know that spring is a long way off. Minnesotan’s are a faithful lot and believe in their hearts that spring really will arrive and it always does. Sometimes in May, sometimes in June. Don’t worry, there hasn’t ever been snow in July. At least in my lifetime.
So it is that we wait for the opportunity to go outdoors, walk around our thousands of lakes, bike along our hundreds of miles of bike paths, sit at outdoor coffee shops without winter garb on and enjoy the sunshine and balmy temperatures. Anything about 40F degrees is considered balmy. Today as I was completing my allotted outdoor walk, I happened past three individuals chatting on the sidewalk. Appropriately six feet apart, they were all dressed in sandals accompanied by ankle pants, leggings and the like. No socks, just sandals. It was 45F degrees with a stiff wind, making it feel a little cooler. Sandals are part of a uniform of sort for the heartiest of Minnesotans. Worn with shorts and an enormous puffer coat, the outfit is considered haute couture. Often we are so desperate for warmth, that we run to the mailbox or take out the garbage in slippers and bathrobes that brush freshly fallen snow.
Given this longing to be outdoors after a long winter’s nap, the shelter-in-place order feels like the unkindest cut of all. Our governor prudently decided that our citizens should shelter-in-place until the middle of May. How can this be? After all these months (it hasn’t been as high as 70F degrees since September) we need sun, warmth, sidewalks unfettered by snow mounds. I can only take so many Vitamin D tabs. In the winter, there are times when going outdoors means that the expedition could end in death. We have exposed skin warnings, insulated insulation pants, shirts, gloves and hats. Thus Minnesotans opt for life indoors for extended periods of time. It is the wisest course of action. Now that spring really is here, with its longer, sunny days and warmer temps that we knew would arrive, we are prohibited from spending time in the great outdoors lest we contract, or spread, a virus that could be as deadly as the worst winter temperatures. We are used to staying inside and we are good at it. It shows in our lower rates of contracting the disease and our lower fatalities, all of which is still sad.
In this time of pandemic, my part of the bargain is to stay indoors as much as possible. I’m in a high risk group due to health issues I highlighted a few articles ago. So I stay in, make masks, order groceries so as not to come in contact with possible sources of the virus, binge watch the same things others do and I stay in touch by phone. I appreciate that others are doing the same. It is the wisest course of action. It will help contain, and eventually stop the spread of this terrible virus. Hopefully in time for me to go get coffee dressed in my puffer coat, shorts and sandals.
Stay home and stay safe everyone.