How many more weeks of winter? Try 10...

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chicago winter
Flickr photo by iamandrewgill

Punxsutawney Phil will poke his little head out on Thursday, but whether he sees his shadow won't make any difference to me. On the fourth day of creation, God created Chicago winters and ordered that they end no earlier than April 15.

Being from East Tennessee, where the first crocuses appear on January 31, I've never really come to love a Chicago winter, which is day upon day of grey half-light. One of my grad school teachers, a Franciscan priest, told me you had to get out in it, and suggested I learn to ski in Michigan. Perish the thought.

He may have been on to something though: This year I set a goal of biking to work one day of each winter month, managing to get my January ride in last week. And I have to admit, despite cold feet, there is something magnificent about Lake Michigan in winter (the bulk of my ride is on Chicago's lakefront bike path). Empty beaches and frozen water may seem barren, but if you look closely you'll still see ducks swimming and the occasional fish splashing (seriously!)--signs of life on a frozen shore. The ducks looked like they were actually having fun.

So maybe between now and April 15 I'll keep my eyes peeled and enjoy the beauty to be found even on the bleakest of Chicago winter days.

Anyone else have ideas for toughing out the second half of winter? (Short of moving to Arizona or Florida!)