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Ack Climate

A quick search shows plenty of information regarding acclimatization during short periods of time - but what about long term? I heard once that it takes three generations before humans adapt to high altitudes but I haven't seen any scientific data to back that claim. On the other hand, I do have plenty of personal anecdotes. It seems to take me a varying amount of time to acclimate - almost none when I first moved here nine years ago. However, it isn't until my second winter here since I returned that I finally feel comfortable with the cold.

Recently our local weatherman posted a few reasons Minnesotans have weather bragging rights:

  • July is the only month that snow has not been reported somewhere in Minnesota
  • You would have to travel to Siberia to find greater extremes in temperature and moisture - we range from -60 to 114 in the shade.
  • The State experiences an average of 25 to 40 days a year that are potentially "life threatening," with warnings issued for blizzards, ice, floods, tornadoes, extreme heat and humidity, and lightening.

The last couple days the highs have been in the single digits, the lows in the negative numbers - and that isn't counting the wind chill. Nonetheless, I have loved the weather. The cold on my face and fingers feels cold and refreshing. The chill of my pants against my legs is invigorating. For some reason, no matter how cold my extremities get, I still feel warm inside. Inhaling the frigid air only reminds me of how warm and alive I am.

It was a switch that turned on last week. Just ten days ago during the previous cold snap, I felt chilled to the bone every day. I would go outside and continue freezing for a half hour after I returned in doors. I would shiver while walking home couldn't shake the cold unless our thermostat was up to seventy; even that didn't work at times. Yet there was a warm spell (in the twenties and thirties) and when the cold returned, it didn't bother me.

I feel fortunate because there are people who never acclimate to the cold and I hear that as you get older sometimes you can get more sensitive as well. I always scoffed at that until this winter when I experienced it first hand. Hopefully I won't ever have to go through that again.

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