Savoring the seasons

These dark mornings take some getting used to. Rising between 6–7 a.m. each day, lately I’ve had to call upon my enjoy-where-you-live skills more than I do in the fairer months.

I’ve lived in South Minneapolis for 27 years, and in my early Minnesota days, I learned the secret that helps me enjoy living here year-round: It’s to appreciate and savor the intensity of each of the seasons. For now, it’s the darkened mornings, the chill in the air, the noticeable change in the sunlight … these are my reminders of the wonder of autumn in Minnesota.

With parents in Texas and a daughter and grandchildren in Florida, we have plenty of conversations about the weather, and before February hits, we spend a little envy-time talking about actually having four distinct seasons.

Autumn-to-winter is filled with so many sensual sensations — eating foods that are hearty and rich; slipping between flannel sheets and under heavy quilts every night; wrapping up in jackets, sweaters and scarves; and sometimes I even like the brisk, wicked wind that takes my breath away as I dash to the back door.

We bought a backyard fire pit several years ago, and it has stretched my enjoyment of outdoors longer into the year. (Albeit I’ll never be a cross-country skiing or ice-skating, nut.) I adore the sounds and smell of a cracking fire and the feel of heat on my legs through my jeans when I’m sitting too close to it.

The special qualities of our winter will be here soon enough, and then I’ll focus on the fun of snow days, the beauty of a winter’s sunrise in a steel-gray sky, the cool scraping noise a snow shovel makes in the early morning on a sidewalk covered with fresh snow. It’ll get tedious by January or February, and I’ll have to remind myself of the enjoy-where-you-live secret (and try to figure out a brief escape to Isla Mujeres). But for these days with their darkened mornings, I’m loving where I’m at and how the world around me reflects our particular spot on the planet in such a unique and intense way.

A personal reminder: After our family had a major house fire last year, it steeled my commitment to remind folks to change those smoke detector batteries over Daylight Savings weekend, which was last weekend. Please do it if you didn’t get to it over the weekend! And please remind your loved ones of what to do, and where to meet, if there ever was a fire at your house. (It saved my daughter’s life.)

Terre Thomas owns Fairy Godmother, a gift store in Calhoun Square, and she and her family live in the Lyndale neighborhood. She can be reached at