Why I Like It Here In Spite Of The Cold

December 6, 2005

cold temperature

I found myself thinking today about people newly transplanted to this area. Especially those who left behind warmer climes. In the midst of this recent cold snap they must be wondering at the fact that human beings ever settled this godforsaken place, and marveling at the fact that those settlers must have been simultaneously stupid enough to stay here yet smart enough to survive.

I know your pain and anguish. Though I have lived here for more than 20 years, I am not a native Wisconsinite. I am originally from Los Angeles, California. When I tell people this they often wonder how I could leave the veritable paradise on earth that is southern California to come to sleepy, cold, backward Wisconsin. “Do you plan to go back?” they ask hopefully. As if anyone unfortunate enough to be waylaid in Wisconsin for 20 years couldn’t possibly think about anything except escaping back to wherever he or she had come from.

But the truth is, I like it here a lot. For starters, there’s seasons. Real seasons! As a child I’d seen pictures of seasons in books and images on television, but I’d never really experienced the reality of Autumn or Winter. I hardly believed they were real. It is my experience, however, that you Wisconsinites don’t really understand my love of this place, so I will try to explain it to you another way.

One of the first Wisconsinese phrases I learned when I moved here was “up north.” When you say you’re going up north you generally mean that you are traveling by car to somewhere in the northern two-thirds of the state which is as far as I can tell nothing but a bunch of trees and lakes and county highways. And it’s beautiful. Life is a little slower up north and a little more charming. There’s more trees and less concrete. There’s roadside diners and more antique shops per capita than you’re used to. And it relaxes you. It warms you. You think to yourself that maybe when you retire you’ll move up here.

What I want you to understand is this: I have that feeling every single day right here in southeastern Wisconsin after having spent my childhood in the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles. That’s why I like it here. That’s why I’ll stay here.


No comments yet

  1. Yes, but you have no mountains.

  2. That is a common misperception!

  3. Nice try, Feldstein, but it ain’t gonna fly.

  4. “Up north” is of course a technical term, meaning “driving past that line of demarcation where normal road signs turn into those white painted ones”.

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