Weird Weather And Warming Walks In Wisconsin

Lately, the weather has been changing more than usual. Setting aside all the potential problems this might indicate (for sanity, not because they aren’t necessary), I’ve been enjoying the variability. There are very few places in the world where the weather can go from “potential frostbite if the wind blows long enough” to “you’ll want a sweatshirt, but you’ll need to roll the sleeves up before long” in less than twenty-four hours without drawing remark. I happen to live in one of them (the midwest of the US). As a result, I got to enjoy a pleasant walk in the sunny fifties one day and then had to bundle up tight against a frigid wind that sought to claim my exposed skin the next day.

The day I wrote this, it was a lovely fifteen degrees out (fahrenheit) when I went for my walk, with a biting wind form the north that made it feel like my face was going to fall off. Once my back was to the wind, though, the warm sun and relatively mild air meant I warmed right back up. I even took my hands out of my pockets! Which was necessary for maintaining my balance because the sleet from the day before was melting just enough in the sunlight to make my entire walk a treachours expidition. I managed to avoid falling, but only because I was prepared to slip when I did.

While the next few days promising more or less the same (with a chance for some more snow, too), looking beyond the weekend gives me hope that spring is coming sooner than later. I miss being able to walk around with my sleeves rolled up, basking in the sun on my face and arms as I fight away the fugue of long winter nights and dreary indoor days. These walks are my main defense against the isolation of the pandemic, so I’m looking forward to being able to venture outside without needing to feel like I have to be prepared to ward off polar bears and polar winds.

Given that I live in the midwest, I know winter isn’t truly coming to an end. Even putting aside the general unreliability of a long-term forecast in this age of rapidly worsening climate change, it is not entirely out of the ordinary to get a final spring snow in late April or early May, one last reminder of the depth of winter before it leaves until the middle of fall (we had early October snow in 2021, after all). I mean, I wasn’t joking about going from -10 to 50 in a twenty-four hour period. That literally happened last week. It was amazing and horrible, as I was able to enjoy a walk in just a sweatshirt as I basked in the sun and then had to spend the rest of the day inside because my joints were killing me from the pressure change. I even wound up developing a moderate migraine (though that wasn’t caused by the weather change, only worsened from mild to moderate).

It’s always a gamble, going for a walk here. The weather can go from fridgid and frozen in the morning to sunny and warm by noon, depending on the wind or cloud cover. It makes watching out for ice a full-time job on every walk, which is always a pain when you want to just close your eyes and turn your face toward the warmth of the sun while you meander along whatever path you’re on.

There’s a part of me that enjoys the rapid change for the sake of change. I believe it would be worse if every day was just grey and dreary, even if it was warmer and the wind less severe. It is easy to appreciate a mildly cold, still day when the day before was blustery and chilled you to the bone. And it’s a lot easier to appreciate a refreshing but cold wind when the day before felt tepid and stagnate. It might just be me looking on the bright side for once in my life, but it really is nice that the weather changes as much as it does right now. I’ll take whatever enjoyment I can get from it, in this enduring winter of ours.

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