This is my third winter in northern Wisconsin while on this project. In that time, I have seen all sorts of winter weather: some precarious drives north on snow covered highways; some near blizzard snowfalls; some slushy snow days; some icy days; some no snow days and everything in between. On Saturday morning, I awoke to the best type of snow: picturesque, weekend snow. Overnight, a few inches fell – just enough to frost everything in a white that seemed to glisten in the morning sun. First thing Saturday, I had a “quick” errand to go to a favorite pottery studio about 45 miles north of here – along the shore in the UP. After clearing the snow off the rental, I was ready to go with coffee in my travel mug & sunglasses on to minimize the sun glare.
The drive north was lovely – M-35 was dry and there wasn’t much traffic on the road. The sky was a brilliant blue, the sun was shining brightly & the snow was still white. The trees along the route were frosted and tipped in a pure white – every so often, a breeze would shake some snow from the branches. After a busy week in the office, it was nice to step away from the hustle & bustle and just take in the beauty of a winter morning. With the start of a new year, it is natural to resolve to do things differently – this drive was a great opportunity to look back on the month and take stock of how I’ve been doing with the changes I’ve been wanting to make in the new year. A good friend has property along the route of this drive. At some point on my drive, I thought “camera and snowshoes” – this snowy morning seemed like it would be perfect for exploring the property with camera in hand – zooming in on snowflakes with a macro setting, zooming out to a bank of trees or swath of grasses frosted in the light snow. Alas, no camera or snowshoes on the agenda for the day. (And never mind that I’ve never been snowshoeing – it just seemed like the thing to do.)
After an hour in the car, I came to the sign for “Rocky Shores Pottery” and turned from the dry road onto the snow covered driveway – my tires breaking through the white canvas. Shirley, the potter, was in her studio and we chatted as I picked out a few pieces of pottery for friends. After just a few minutes, I was back in the car & retracing my tire tracks on the snow covered driveway to get back to the road. I waited for some southbound trucks to zoom by and then pulled out onto the road back.
Along the way home, I pulled into a park along the shore. Again, my tire tracks broke the snow. A swing set was snow covered – a reminder of warmer days past and warmer days to come. While I didn’t have my camera with me, I did have the camera on my phone – so I stepped out of the car and each step of my boots crunched through the snow as I stopped to take a few pictures. The water along the shoreline has frozen over but in the distance you could see the sun dancing on open water.
By the time I got back to the hotel, much of the snow had disappeared. Before long, I was back in the car with a friend to spend the day shopping. But for those few hours on a Saturday morning, the stillness of a snowy route provided a tranquil respite from the busyness of the everyday.