Baby, it has been cold outside. As much as that popular Christmas song gets stuck in our heads, so do polar plunges for weeks like this week. As of last week, the extended forecast made it look as if the dips into the teens would balance back out into normal Mississippi temperatures and if it holds true, springtime conditions are coming soon.

Living in the southeast doesn’t make bitterly cold temperatures any easier. Seeing predicted daily highs of -3 and lows in the negative teens in parts of Montana last week makes it hard to imagine it can be that cold.

Some of the people living in Montana may think the same way looking at August temperatures here.

Last week’s quick burst of short-sleeve weather was really refreshing for us warm temperature lovers. All those chirping frogs I heard agreed just as much.

Winter days can be silent. You know in summertime you can expect to hear the sounds of insects, birds and lawnmowers, but the January and February stretch can be sort of lonely.

On plenty of sunny days lately, my yard has been covered up with black crows foraging for food. When one gets spooked by a noise, they all do, making for a steady rhythm of wings flapping.

Judging by the traffic on the road, us warm temperature lovers act the same way. When the sun’s out, we’re roaming around more. When you’ve got a long stretch of days with heavy clouds and no hope of getting warm enough, we’re hibernating.

I can say after the rush of the fall and Christmas seasons, a steaming bowl of chili followed by a nap underneath a sherpa blanket is just as much fun as all those nights looking at lights and trying to escape a corn maze.

We all need a little bit of downtime the best we can get it.

Plenty of people don’t have a choice, though, and the bitterly cold temperatures make us appreciate so many professionals.

The mail is going to run regardless of what weather conditions we have. Utility workers are guaranteed to be out in the elements to make sure water, electricity and phone services are secure. There are road and sanitation crews that trudge through and as far as first responders, they’re always going to be there when we need them. Production workers are going to make sure the supply chain is being met too.

For years, I worked outside and in the colder months, work was almost non-existent. The long 12- to sometimes 14-hour work days in the heat of the summer made up for it. During that downtime, though, it’s easy to get too comfortable sleeping in late and being lazy.

The same applies for any of us just trying to make it through the cold blasts of the year. It’s not as enticing to run your mile(s) when it’s pouring down cold rain. You’re not quite as motivated to run your errands when it’s 14 degrees outside either.

The frigid February days we sometimes get throw our rhythms out of whack. As cozy as some Saturday mornings are, it won’t be too long before they’ll give way to the beginnings of another year’s list of projects and chores.

The sunny 75-degree days give us the motivation we need to get going but so many wintertime days, they seem like they’ll never get here. They’re getting here soon enough so snuggle in tight underneath those blankets while you can because you’ll miss that laziness when it’s gone.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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