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A stoney Habrok, a legendary bird in Scandinavian folklore, perches in South Dakota Magazine's backyard. This photo was shot a year ago.
A stoney Habrok, a legendary bird in Scandinavian folklore, perches in South Dakota Magazine's backyard. This photo was shot a year ago.

Surviving a Warm Winter

Dec 27, 2011

A wave of 29,000 Norwegians immigrated to America in 1882. Most ended up in the Dakotas, and we are benefitting from that infusion of common sense once again this winter.

I’m reminded every time I go to the post office or to Gramp’s coffee shop.

“Nice weather, huh?” someone will say.

“Yes but we’ll pay for it,” replies someone else of Norwegian descent.

Norwegians know that the secret to surviving winter is to not let oneself feel too happy or too sad. A really tough winter — the sort we suffered in 2009 and 2010 — tested our low ebb. Thus far in 2011, we run the risk of feeling too good.

But if you come from a country where darkness settles over the landscape for 60 days — a land where they believe that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing —  you accept a 55 degree December day almost the same way you would endure a biting blizzard.

I am everything but Norwegian, but I admire the culture of humility, modesty and practicality. Thus I know that the best way to cope with these beautiful winter days is to pretend they are not occurring.

When someone at Gramp’s says, “How about this weather!” I’m going to tacitly suggest — maybe only with a nod or a roll of the eyes … maybe only with one eye — that it could be warmer. Or colder.

Comments

02:45 pm - Tue, December 27 2011
Ruth said:
That's not a Habrok, Bernie.
03:41 am - Wed, December 28 2011
Ja...thanks then. This is most certainly true. I spose we'll really pay for this nice weather in March then.
09:22 am - Sat, January 7 2012
Deanna Stands said:
haha--loved the article! Our family Norwegian pen pal responded in this way when I asked him how he was doing: "Well, you know, depressed as usual, us Norwegians." I didn't know whether to laugh or commiserate!

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