We've all heard it before, Minnesota has two seasons – road construction and winter.

We’ve all heard it before, Minnesota has two seasons – road construction and winter.

Well, road construction finished up and winter swiftly moved in and it’s a hot topic, at least for native Minnesotans. How many conversations have you had in the last week about the weather? It’s the hottest topic around–besides a moose being spotted in Sleepy Eye last week.

It is often a test of endurance, patience, humor, semi-hibernation and mental strength to survive winter, especially when it happens to be a winter that started like this year–early and brutal.

What do we have to look forward to? Besides countless days well below zero, dangerously cold, bone-chilling wind. Snow. Black ice on the roads. Days upon end where it never even reaches freezing. And don’t forget the shoveling, numb fingers, runny noses, frozen feet and hours and hours and hours and hours of darkness.

If you’re home grown in this climate you know the basics of winter survival: Dress in layers, make sure your car is ready with an emergency kit that includes blankets, chocolates, matches and something to burn. But if you’ve lived here forever, you probably already have the winter survival skills down pat–even if it shows up a little earlier than normal.

Global warming doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll all be living in the tropics within five years. Intense winter snow and ice storms seem to be hitting all over the country more frequently than ever before. Now, we can’t definitively pin the blame for every freak flurry on global warming, but we agree that somebody ought to do something about cars and flatulent cows and hair spray and all the other things that might or might not be causing climate change.

The point is this: Get used to snow.

Most people bemoan winter driving, myself included. Winter driving isn’t as hard as people make it seem. It just takes a little more concentration and awareness. Drive like you’re tiptoeing on ice, because you might be. Use small, slow motions. Ease on the brakes; drive like there’s an egg under the accelerator.

But those are the things that every Minnesotan already knows.

And then there is the aspect of winter that I know many fall prey to and struggle with; the psychological survival of winter is a whole different story.

The best way to survive winter with your sanity intact is to learn to lie to yourself. It’s the best weapon in the battle against gloomy cold torturing us from November through April.

However, no amount of positive thinking will prevent hypothermia, and seasonal affective disorder is real, and can be caused by light deprivation. But a little creative positive thinking can stave off the winter doldrums.

Fake it until you make it.

Garrison Keillor, tells of winter as the element that we need to give us perspective; contrast, appreciation and credibility. Somewhat in the same vein as not appreciating the water until the well goes dry.

Wow, that sunshine really makes the blowing snow look glittery, doesn’t it? Makes you feel like you’re in a snow globe!

It’s a start, at least.