Lets keep getting out there!

I think the first step towards appreciating what winter in Milwaukee has to offer is – keep getting out there! Go for a walk (or ski, run, etc.) every day. Remember that there still are plenty of activities (I focus on the outdoor ones in this post, but don’t forget about the indoor ones as well) to enjoy.

Sure, there’s a tendency to think of winter as a time to retreat, to keep out of the cold, to hide from the darkness. And I can respect that, as an approach to identifying something distinctive one can enact during the season. But there’s no reason not to enjoy the daylight that there is, to keep out of weather in the 40s or 50s, or to forget that we can bundle up a little and still enjoy colder temperatures!

Friends of mine have told me that exercise schedules, or pets, have been useful means for keeping them heading outside. Once committed to getting out there regularly, they have the opportunity to see what they can appreciate. It is intimidating, even for me sometimes, to think about taking the time, putting the layers on… but I always appreciate it afterwards when I do put in the effort.

And there is a lot to appreciate about getting out there. Fresh air. The invigoration of being outside, in brisk weather. Stretching one’s legs, and the satisfaction that comes after exercising.


Remember to take a careful look at what you can see. Each day, I am reminded of what can be found, things that I forgot I could see.

I come across angles of view I didn’t realize I had. Without leaves on trees, new vistas open up during winter, a revealing season.

I see birds nests that were hidden during the spring summer and fall, and come to a better understanding of the life that was around me during those seasons.

I am reminded of the amount of sun that is out there to enjoy; it may not be out for as long, but its still plenty bright when its there. I feel bright as I am surrounded by it.

I take a close look at ice formations and patterns, infinite in variety.

On warm days, I wonder where snow is hiding out; where can I find it, and focus on a spot and how snow changes the appearance of that little are?


So yes, it takes a little effort, and you have to dress warm. (I don’t like it outside when I’m underdressed, and I play it cautious around areas where I might slip and fall.) But if you are comfortable and prepared, both in terms of warmth and security in moving, you’ll enjoy the outdoors in winter!

About MilwaukeeSnow

Dr. Jeffrey Filipiak, Milwaukee's Ambassador of Snow, loves winter, Milwaukee, and environmental history! He has taught college courses on topics including history, writing, environmental ethics, food studies, the Great Lakes, and sustainability. You can contact him at ambassadorofsnow@gmail.com.
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2 Responses to Lets keep getting out there!

  1. Matt Filipiak says:

    Ahh, the invigorating experience of an icy beard and moustache forming while running in Wisconsin winter! My running highlight so far this season was enjoying the Oak Leaf Trail section along Lake Michigan north of Sheridan Park on one of the brisker mornings. It’s so liberating to be with the elements, a part of the world around us. I especially like how we can even get our body temperatures up so much that layers need to come off and how renewing and revitalizing the crisp air can feel. Get out and enjoy!

    • Yep, running in the winter can ice you up a little… but that can be an unusual fun experience! And we can shift the balance between body and outside world in interesting ways, as you note…

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