Some thoughts on Wisconsin winters

While December is known as the Christmas season, it also marks the start of winter. After nearly three months of going from hot to cold and seeing the leaves change color and fall off the trees, we’re rewarded with snow.

Most folks around where I live in Shawano find it hard to believe that Arizona ever had snow. They imagine that the whole state is 90 degrees all day, every day, not realizing that deserts can go from one weather extreme to another within a 24-hour period. It could be 85 degrees for the day’s high, but that night could see a 40- to 50-degree drop.

Besides that, northern Arizona is more of a mountain region, and the area I lived in was over 5,500 feet in elevation, which meant we were susceptible to snow. The difference between snow in Arizona and snow in Wisconsin is that the average winter temperature stays above freezing, so the snow eventually melts away.

The ironic thing is that, this year and last, Arizona saw snow before Wisconsin. Keep that in mind while I go on.

 

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A scene from Sunday’s snowstorm in Shawano, Wis. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

In Wisconsin, many folks await the first snowfall of the season with anticipation, while others await it with dread. The snow in December is beautiful, especially when enhanced with Christmas lights and decorations.

 

The lights and decorations are put away in January, but the snow remains, and at that point, the white stuff has worn out its welcome. In Wisconsin, most days the temperature stays below the freezing point of 32 degrees. There will occasionally be a thaw or two, but most Wisconsin residents know that the ground will stay white, not brown, until March and sometimes April.

Snow falling can be a good thing when you’re at home and relaxing and don’t have to travel anywhere. When we received our first significant snowfall of the season Sunday, it was peaceful seeing the snowflakes floating through my window.

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The first snowfall is always fun for the furry companion that shares Lee’s home. (Photo by Lee Pulaski)

I don’t have the same feeling when I have to be somewhere, like work. With my job involving a lot of night hours, having a snowstorm rolling through around midnight can be unnerving, especially if the roads have not been plowed. An eight-minute drive turns into a 20-minute crawl, and I always breathe a sigh of relief when I can pull the car into the driveway.

Snow can grow from fascination to irritation over the course of the season, but the way I see it, dealing with three or more months of snow helps me to appreciate the rest of the year, when you can enjoy 15-16 hours of daylight, be able to travel without worry of a blizzard and see green grass and leaves everywhere you go.

So I will enjoy the snow for now and endure it later, but in the end, it will be worth it.

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