What I have missed since we last had winter

As we begin to sense winter in the air, I have been thinking about what I have been missing most, in 2012, since last winter occurred. And, what I am most eager to encounter when winter arrives again!

1. Changes in the landscape. Late fall, after growing season had ended, and after trees’ leaves have turned and fallen, does not leave much to watch on a daily basis in terms of ‘what’s going to surprise me today, what new twist will occur that I can enjoy?’ But I have already been enjoying the ice in a nearby nature center – once it is cold enough for freezing to occur, we have something which will look a little different every day, to study. What are the patterns that form near shore? What areas remain open? How thick and solid does the ice look? How much can we still see through it?

I am, of course, looking forward to snow season even more – there is a lot more to watch in terms of day-to-day transformations once snow starts accumulating!

2. Staying warm in cold weather: appreciation for winter clothing! I might step outside, feel chilled, finish wrapping my scarf around, and putting on gloves… and I can still feel crisp fresh air on my face, but I’m not really cold anymore. It is a fun contrast to notice, and the pleasure of becoming warmer is a very elemental one. (It also reminds me to that our world could do a better job of making sure that everyone has the clothing and shelter they need to stay warm.)

3. The soundscape of snow. The little soft pings of snowflakes hitting my hood. The muffling effect a snowstorm can have; leaving me focusing on sounds of wind and snow, closer to me, while distant sounds are more blurred.

With leaves gone, it seems like its easier to see and hear cars and buildings – it’s a world in which the human presence becomes more noticeable. But in snow season, it will be easier to focus attention on aspects of nature – and nature will make it easier for us to focus on it.


We do not know when our more wintry weather could come – so I hope you will enjoy me in both anticipating it, and preparing to enjoy it when the time comes!

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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