• Jenny Hill

Do You Have Winter Denial?

One of the secrets to making it through challenging winter weather conditions may be winter denial. I call winter denial the behavior/task/habit that is appropriate in a season other than winter that someone still carries on through as much of winter as possible.


For me that habit is hanging laundry outside on the clothesline. I (rather smugly) use my clothesline, knowing I am reducing my carbon footprint by doing so in the spring, summer, fall…and winter. If the conditions are just right, my washing will “freeze dry” and release a wonderful fresh air scent when I bring it back indoors. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend it.


It turns out I am not alone in wanting to continue a favorite warm weather activity in all seasons. Happy Dancing Turtle’s Program Coordinator, Michelle, may be found wearing flip flops in January. Chef Chris has been known to wear shorts at the end of February.


Other staffers find themselves doing seasonally appropriate things, but with a heavy peppering of denial. Gardener Dave starts seeds early–so early he must re-pot and re-pot. Not ideal, you may think, but no big deal. Remember, however, Dave is the HDT campus gardener. In 2021 he planted 10,000 seeds for growing indoors in the campus hoop houses and outdoors.


Marketing & Media Specialist, Krista, reports underestimating what it will take to get her car on the road in winter and the time it will take to travel the route hampered by bad winter road conditions. Manager of Administration Tammy finds herself in possession of good winter gear but not using it as often as she might. And Conservation Technician Jim finds it’s the lead up to winter that puts him in denial, specifically around how much firewood he will need for the season.


All of this winter denial behavior is not necessarily a problem. In fact, I admire my co-workers who can show their bare feet or bare legs while there’s still snow on the ground. I am heartened by their plucky attitude and actions. But as we approach the last week in February, my personal think-good-thoughts-about-winter tank feels empty.


So what do you do when the latest run of Winter Storm Warnings is posted and no number of trips to the clothesline in your shorts and flip flops is going to cheer you up? Here is a short list of resources to inspire and get you through:


Cheer Me Up About Winter List

  • You have full bragging rights over friends/family in almost any other state in the lower 48. As this article informs us, Minnesota is tied with Maine for second-coldest state honors.

  • Like many people, you may love all the seasons and the changes each one brings. I find reading “out of season” novels keeps me appreciating what’s to come. Give me a big fat novel by someone like Elin Hilderbrand and I am smelling the suntan lotion in an instant.

  • Speaking of the power of stories, Nora, Happy Dancing Turtle’s Driftless Region program specialist, is well-known for loving winter. Here’s one of her fabulous Nature Storytimes about just that.


Although it may not feel like it with the wind howling by my window right now, it’s not that long until spring. Here you can keep track down to the nearest second.