I live at latitude 44.9778° north, longitude 93.2650° west. If you’re not a geography or cartography geek (I’m not either), those are the coordinates for Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Perhaps all “Minneapolis” means to you is cold. Some think Minneapolis is a suburb of the North Pole. Not quite true, but it feels like it sometimes.
With the return of December, winter is now bearing down on us. We Minnesotans will spend a considerable amount of the next four months managing snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. Our furnaces have fired up and we’ve dug out our sweaters, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, shovels, and (for those fortunate ones) snow blowers.
Once again we’re allowing extra time to brush snow and scrape ice off our cars before driving anywhere. We veterans of the tundra understand this very well: It takes a lot of work to stay warm.
Fire: Key to Surviving the Cold
But 150 years ago it took a lot more work to stay warm during a Minnesota winter. I have great respect for the native peoples and settlers who endured the Lord’s cold (Psalm 147:17) before the days when natural gas was piped directly into homes equipped with automatic, thermostat-regulated heating systems.
A sesquicentenary ago, most people had only one way to keep a house or teepee warm: Tend a fire.