Change is in the air, and not just because lots of people spent the weekend marching for science.
Science. Think about that for a minute. It’s like a march for keeping everyone’s desk organized, or maybe for castor oil.
Since when do we have to march for something so obviously good and essential?
Never mind. Everybody knows since when, so there’s not much point going there. It’s the world we live in.
That world has been wearing on me, so rather than supporting the Earth on Earth Day or marching for science, I decided to do something I could actually control, like get my kids to behave all weekend and go hiking with me.
Yeah, I know. It’s easier to get a rich man to pass you his money through the eye of a needle, an eye welded shut with a tiny blowtorch the size of a career politician’s scruples.
The season of man versus nature has arrived.
It’s that time when Wisconsin can’t decide what it wants and the temperatures bounce around with variations of 30 or 40 degrees over the span of days – or even hours, which is where man and nature come in.
More specifically, it’s when a man has to battle for control of his sidewalk over the nature of that one snow-plow driver.
You know – that guy who shows off his prowess at clearing the street in front of your house when all the conditions are just right.
Of all the things that can delay getting outside to recreate, I didn’t expect last weekend’s to be my 15-year-old son being smarter than me.
We were itching to get out on his new clearance-sale cross-country skis, but weather and other circumstances haven’t cooperated. A half-foot of snow early in the week gave us another shot, so I rousted him from bed Saturday with a request to eat quickly, as the sun was brilliant and temperatures climbing.
author’s note: this is the original version of a piece I shortened for use in the March 9 issue of the Portage County Gazette
Deer tracks across the marsh
“How long do you think they can run like that?”
The question was posed by my frequent hiking companion Chris Sadler, who for the first time was filling the role of cross-country skiing buddy.
We were watching eight deer streaking across a flat, icy expanse of McMillan Marsh Wildlife Area, about a hundred yards southeast from where we glided along a low dike, heading back to Chris’ car.
The dike road ran between the marsh on our right and the forest on our left, where the Little Eau Pleine River winds about on its way toward an affiliated reserve, the George Mead Wildlife Area, before ultimately draining into Lake DuBay more than 20 miles to our east.
It was a perfect winter day. The midday temperatures were hovering around 10 degrees with westerly and northwesterly winds hitting no more than 10 miles an hour – enough to chill our faces thoroughly but not bring any substantial discomfort.