Hiking through Minooka Park recently to enjoy the fresh snowfall, I came across a young boy who was out for his first ride in the snow on his new fat tire bike. It looked like a lot of fun, although drastically different conditions than when I first learned to ride my bike.
I got my first bicycle for Christmas; a purple Schwinn Sting-Ray with a banana seat. We lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so I was able to head right outside and learn to ride. I was ready to take on the world, or at least the street in front of our house per mom’s rules.
I rode practically every day that winter with shorts, t-shirt and socks pulled up to my knees.
A few years later, we were living in Miami, FL. Winters were a bit different as it got cold there. More like ‘chilly,’ given my perspective today as a Wisconsin transplant. Still, it was a season that actually brought a change in temperatures.
There were days we could actually see our breath! I was mesmerized by the phenomenon. There were times I’d get light-headed and dizzy from exhaling for prolonged periods of time, just so I could see my breath.
My parents continued their northerly migration, landing us in St. Louis as I headed into high school. Right before Thanksgiving that first year, we received our first snow flurries of the season. That is my earliest memory of enjoying snow falling from the sky.
The moment I stepped off our front porch, I was immersed in the shower of snowflakes. I watched flakes land on my new winter gloves. I was able to focus on the details and designs of those flakes. The tiniest of details. I was amazed. I had never looked at one that close.
To this day, I feel the same sense of excitement when I see the lightest of flurries.
That was then, and this is now
In the years between then and now, discovering winter has provided many exciting experiences for me.
This morning, the sun is casting the shadows of our maple trees’ branches across the driveway and snow covered landscape beneath. These same trees shield us in the summer as they shade our backyard sitting area. Covered with snow however, another personality is on display.
Taking a stroll through the garden, I am able to appreciate the time I’ve spent planning and adding landscape details to provide interest in each season. Details that draw me outside regardless of temperature. After all, these details are only visible during the winter.
Arborvitae and coneflower seed heads frosted with snow. Little bluestem and lichens providing a splash of color.
In winter I spend more of my work day sitting behind my desk than I do sitting in the branches. Your work hours are probably similar. Because of this, we miss most of the daylight. If we do get a view of daylight, the color spectrum is noticeably void of the colorful splashes of flowers and greens of summer.
That’s why I keep an eye out for when the sunshine calls. I do not want to let too many days go by without getting outside to enjoy the sunshine.
I trust you too have been watching the daylight stretching longer as the days have progressed.
Although it’s challenging, one of my winter tasks includes searching out new trees for climbing programs. Whether I call it work or not, at least it gets me outside during the week to enjoy the daylight and keep me connected with Nature.
No matter how low the temperature, I cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy the sunny day ahead. Winter would not be as enjoyable if I simply hunkered down inside and waited for it to pass.
Soon enough, we will return to the trees. We have many opportunities lined up for you to climb with us this spring.
With the summer season set, I’m excited to announce that we will be climbing in a few new communities this summer. Fox Crossing, Kaukauna, and Waunakee dates have just been finalized!
Climbing begins on April 14th, and registration is open at this time! Visit our climbing calendar for the details.
I hope you can join us for one of them.
As an I.S.A. Certified Arborist, T.C.I.A. Certified Treecare Safety Professional, T.C.I.A. Climber Specialist, and GOTC Recognized Instructor, Curt has spent over 25 years dedicated to the study and care of trees.