News & Resources

The Wonders of Winter - By Kevin Vande Vusse

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Feb 27, 2015

Spending the winter in the great North Woods of Michigan can be challenging.  Usually associated with bitter cold, hostile temperatures, roaring blizzards and below zero wind chills, it’s no wonder people find winter in the north hard to endure.  However, as an intern at the Au Sable during the winter session, I was able to see this cold and quiet season from a new perspective. 

Growing up in Michigan, winter has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  The bitter cold, short days, and slippery roads have long since been a part of my childhood and early adulthood.  I wouldn't say that I dislike winter, I enjoy outdoor sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, but it's always been a sort of season to endure.  Au Sable has always been a place where I can connect with God's creation on a deeper level, the atmosphere has a way of captivating me and slows me down to see the natural world in a new way. 

The Au Sable atmosphere has captivated me over the past four weeks, time as a winter intern and has showed me a different side of the winter season.  I’ve learned to slow my gaze, and absorb my surroundings.  I woke the other day to catch the morning sun creep through the forest casting its light along the surface of the freshly fallen snow, shining like a million diamonds scattered on the ground.  I’ve observed the myriad of tracks scattered across the snows brilliantly white surface leaving clues as to who left them and writing their stories in the snow like a thousand little books waiting to be read.  I’ve even encountered the great white snowy owl, an almost mythical nomad of the North as it sat silently atop a telephone pole in search for its next winter meal. 

All of these experiences, upon many more, have helped me to see and appreciate the winter season in a new light and a new perspective.  Now as I prepare to depart I pray that I will keep these lessons close to my heart, that I might continue to learn from my time at Au Sable long after the snow has melted and the snowy owl has retreated north.