Ode To Winter (and Frankenmuth)

by Derek Holser, Tastemaker in Residence

During the early days of 2018, much of the Midwestern and Eastern United States was shut down due to The Bomb Cyclone that invaded our land. I’m not certain if The Weather Channel gave this storm a name, but apparently, Bomb Cyclone really fit. Thousands of flights were canceled and hundreds of breathless reporters braved the elements to tell everyone what they could feel if they simply walked outside.

If memory serves, the period we mark on the calendar with the months December, January and February have historically collectively been known as “Winter”. 

As Samuel Prout Hill (d. 1861) reminded his friends over 150 years ago in Ode to Winter,

    SEE! From the regions of the shivering North,
    Pale Winter soars upon its snowy wings;
    To chase dear mellow Autumn stalks he forth,
    While o’er her charms his mantle now he flings.

    His white hair matted with still whiter snow,
    His chilling breath, cold – freezing all below…

    Where have thy beauties, glorious Nature, fled?
    Where are those leafy bowers we loved so well?
    All scared and yellow – emblems of the dead – 
    For Desolation triumph’d – and they fell.

Samuel looks like he enjoyed Winter. I enjoy Winter. Instead of bemoaning the travel interruptions, the sniffles, the Arctic blasts, I encourage you to embrace the forced pauses that come from a beautiful snowfall. 

When the clouds drop so low you can almost touch them and the world grows quiet as the first few snowflakes begin to blanket the cold bare ground, everything is new again and for a moment, just a moment, the inner child of everyone is universally released. It’s a wonderful, magical experience, and it should be cherished. 

Won’t you join me? And Santa? And Samuel Prout Hill? And even Mr. Freeze?

Enjoy Winter. Take your inspiration from the hearty souls in Frankenmuth, Michigan. It’s not too late to visit and participate in Zehnder’s Snowfest, which according to the website is “Winter Fun for the Whole Family!” 

From January 24 – 29, complete with Multiple Snow Sculpting Championships, a Block Ice Carving Exhibition and even the U.S. National Collegiate Ice Carving Competition, the Zehnder’s Snowfest is a place where nobody complains about sub-freezing temperatures or the ice and snow all around. In fact, they kind of need it to have the Snowfest, you know?

Anyone who can make this out of ice deserves not just our applause, but our attendance.

So, bundle up the kiddos, jump on Travelocity, grab your scarf and hat, and head to Frankenmuth. It may not make you a winter lover like me and Mr. Freeze, but it may just give you a new appreciation for the joy and wonder of snow and ice. In an age of heightened sensitivities, even Old Man Winter deserves a little love, don’t you think?