Posted by: Paul Lovaas | November 13, 2013

Paddling into Winter

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It’s only November, but Lowenwood is already decked in a coat of snow and ice! While we’ve been experiencing snow cover on and off this semester, since mid-October in fact, the snow on our campus now is likely to stick around for the long-haul of our Northwoods winter. Indeed, we can finally say it; winter has come.

For many people across many parts of the United States, the beginning of winter is a somber season when the light wanes, outdoor activities decrease or stop all together, and the world goes into hibernation waiting for the return of warm days and open waterways. Fortunately for those of us that live and study at Conserve School, we know that winter will not win out because we know the unique beauty and fun that comes disguised in snow and ice. Author Arthur Crandall puts it best by pointing out that, “withstanding the cold develops vigor for the relaxing days of spring and summer. Besides, in that matter as in many others, it is evident that nature abhors a quitter.”

If nature abhors quitters, then she must adore our students! This week, despite snow on the trees, despite sub-freezing point air temperatures, and despite the beginnings of ice formation on Big Donahue Lake, our Conserve School students and Field Instructors took to the water for a late-season paddle and canoe technique review in class. Some of our students realized that cross-bow draw strokes are a bit more challenging when you are wearing your ski jacket under your personal flotation device. Others learned to feel a new respect for the lake, knowing that the water temperature was only degrees above freezing. Yet all of our students paddled headlong into the experience demonstrating a unique blend of confidence, courage, and craziness that has come to define our class of students this semester.

Wherever you find yourself, I hope you too find ways to welcome winter wholeheartedly in the coming weeks. Follow the example of our students and stay outside, stay grateful, and stay warm while you’re at it.

Paul Lovaas
Graduate Fellow

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