Dante was really writing about Minnesota

Derrick Knutson

Derrick Knutson

In “Dante’s Inferno,” the first part of the “Divine Comedy” written by Dante Alighieri in the early 1300s, the ninth ring of hell, in the author’s imagination, is frigid and encased in ice.

I know he’s not credited with discovering the New World, but I think Dante must have left Italy sometime during his life and taken a trip to Minnesota during the winter.

His descriptions of the bone-chilling agony extreme cold can inflict could only come from someone who has spent time in Minnesota during one of these “polar vortex” spells we’ve been experiencing recently.

I know winter here is cold; that is to be expected. And most of us who live year-round in this state pride ourselves on being “hearty,” but I’m tired of being hearty. I want to be warm. Even as I’m typing this column, my fingers are cold and won’t really warm up unless I put them in chopper gloves, which cuts down just a tad on word-processing speed and accuracy.

Those who read the Post Review this week might notice there are no school board or city council stories.

That’s because those meetings were canceled. Why? You guessed it: the cold. School was also canceled on Thursday, Monday and Tuesday in area districts.

I grew up in this state, and I lived in Chisago County for a good portion of my life, and I don’t think I can ever remember it being this cold for this long in this part of the state.

By the time this column prints, it’s supposedly going to be about 20 degrees. That’s a 20 without a negative in front of it. Break out the shorts and flip-flops.

Most winters, by the time February comes around, I feel like we’re turning a corner. The sun no longer sets at 4:30 p.m., and more days approach temperatures that allow mountains of snow to melt a little bit.

About a week ago, I was watching a local news station, and a weather forecaster came on the screen and said that computer models have February being “colder than normal.”

This got me angry. I wanted to throw a shoe at the television. Or better yet, I wanted to drive down to the weather forecaster’s broadcast station and throw a shoe at him.

I’m hoping he and his computer models are wrong. We’ve suffered enough this winter.

I don’t know if I can bear another month of “life threatening” temperatures. Just the thought of the air temperature being cold enough to turn a non-bundled-up person into a Popsicle in 15 minutes is mind-boggling.

So I’m just going to assume I am right and the weather forecaster is wrong, because sometimes hope is all that gets us through.

But if the forecaster and his computer models are correct, I have to find a way to warm up. Maybe I’ll buy a copy of the “Inferno” and read about the other eight toasty layers of hell.

up arrow