Sister Snow made her first appearance of the season on Thursday evening.  The flurries were few in number and disappeared when they hit the ground, but they brought the unmistakable message that winter is not far off.  On Friday, the flurries were larger and more numerous, to the point of nearly white-out conditions momentarily.  Sister Snow appeared off and on all afternoon, but Friday’s flurries all melted just as quickly as their sisters did on Thursday.  On Saturday morning I arose to a dusting of Sister Snow coating the grass and bare tree branches, and snow still falling steadily.  Tracy reported it had been snowing since 7 am.

Having weathered more than a few Wisconsin winters, I knew this snow was not likely to last.  In fact, it didn’t even last until noon.  I also know it is not likely to be the last of the season.   But it is the harbinger of winter, the months of cold, snow and ice that wait just beyond the horizon.

Jackie K. has a plaque in her office that reads, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain.”  As hardy Midwesterners, even hardier Wisconsinites, we long ago learned how to “dance in the snow” rather than wait for the months of winter storms to pass.  We learned to walk slower, some of us even learned to drive slower, so as to be safe on slippery surfaces.  We learned to dress appropriately – boots, hats, coats, gloves or mittens – so as to stay warm when we venture out.  We found ways to enjoy the winter outdoors: ice fishing; hunting; skating; snowshoeing; skiing; building snowmen and snow forts; having snowball fights; making snow angels.  We have found ways to enjoy the indoors as well, like cuddling up in front of a cozy fire with a good a book, playing board games or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

In this winter of COVID that has lasted longer than any Wisconsin winter I can remember, I would hope the winter experiences of hardy Wisconsinites would help us weather this storm as well.  We can slow down and be safe by being less socially-active and avoiding large crowds.  We can enjoy the outdoors in our back yards, go for a walk in the neighborhood, or venture out to a public park.  We can dress appropriately by wearing masks and face coverings when we do go out.  We can find new ways to enjoy this unique indoor time together, like family activities, online gatherings, phone calls, even old fashioned letter-writing.  It is not too late for us to still learn how to “dance in the snow” of this COVID winter.

For the blessings of all the seasons, and for learning how to dance through all of life’s storms, we say Deo Gratias!