GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn -- Recently I wrote a blog about how good it felt to escape the grip of old man winter by heading down to sunny Mexico for a few days.
The glow from that trip is all but gone, but it has been replaced by something else quite unexpected: A feeling that if you embrace it, winter doesn't have to be so dreadful after all. The past weekend is a case in point.
Our adventure began on Friday night. Fueled with a few sips of delicious bubbly and some hearty pasta bolognese at St. Paul's Pazzaluna restaurant, we headed to Rice Park following dinner. Escorted by proud St. Paul native and friend, Kris Hanousek, who is a walking encyclopedia of River City history, we checked out sparkling Winter Carnival ice sculptures. It was there that we had our brush with royalty.
"I'm in the royal court," the fresh faced young girl told us. "Tell 'em you are the snowflake queen," the girl's proud mom offered. It was one of those terrific 'only in Minnesota moments' that made all of us smile. No wonder some of these traditions endure. The Winter Carnival is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
Encouraged by the fun we had on this night, we set out on Saturday evening for more winter fun at Minneapolis City Of Lake's Loppet. Fully subscribing to the belief that it is always better to start out with a satisfied stomach, we stopped for a bite at Calhoun Square's Il Gatto. They have a new menu by the way, much improved from when they opened.
Heading down the mall after dinner we followed the trail of the thousands of cross country skiers gliding their way towards Lake of the Isles. Laughter and smiles greeted us all along the path, where snow sculptures provided excellent backdrops for goofy photos.
The real treat was still to come. Illuminated ice blocks transformed the lake into one of the most spectacular scenes I have ever witnessed during a Twin Cities winter. Even our friends, Minnesota natives Robbin Rouillard and Tom Magnuson, agreed. Going to bed that night I thought of how fortunate I am to live here and to have these experiences.
Ok, winter drags on too long and sometimes I get tired of the cold. But then there are occasions like this that make this season not just tolerable but enjoyable.
This leads me to believe that there are times, like this past weekend, when it is just plain better to embrace the moment rather than to fight it.
Now can you image how helpful this approach might be in other areas of our lives?
I'm just saying.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)