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  • Writer's pictureDan Robinson

Rest and Potential: A Great Lakes Winter Photo Essay

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Winter is a season of contrasts - precious sunshine and long nights, cold days and warm fires, and most of all a time of rest and quietly growing potential. In a world of instant heat and light and 24-hour news, we can miss the seasonal rhythm between these two sides of life. As we move from deep winter to early spring, take a moment to reflect on what in your life needs rest and what potential you have waiting to spring forth. (All photos by Dan Robinson)

Algoma, WI

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux

Heyman Falls County Park, Shawano County, WI

“Resilience has been a huge theme in my life up to this point. And I think resilience is something that we see all the time in nature. ... I feel as if we have a lot to learn in terms of patience, resilience, understanding, appreciation.” – Stephanie Prechter

Heyman Falls County Park, Shawano County, WI

“(The Earth) is calling us again, that female energy that is asking us to maybe be a little less selfish and take less and compromise and negotiate.” – Katy Bresette

Cave Point County Park, Door County, WI

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”– John Burroughs

Cave Point County Park, Door County, WI

“A person who has hope doesn’t have that amount of certitude that things will get better. A person who has hope says, ‘I will work to make things better. By my action, things can get better. But there is not guarantee of that outcome. But I have a responsibility to act.” – Dr. Dan Weber

Heyman Fall County Park, Shawano County, WI

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

Cave Point County Park, Door County, WI

“’Regenerative’ I particularly like because it just evokes how nature works, how the natural world works... and many eco theologians feel this way is just a manifestation of how the divine works within the world. And you can look at it both in a Christian sense; if you're a Christian you believe like in the resurrection of Jesus. But also in a Hindu sense, we talk about reincarnation as well, that you never really actually pass away or die. You just are born again into another body. Therefore, we're always living in a way.” – Dr Christopher Fici

Cave Point County Park, Door County, WI

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!”– Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door County, WI

“We're going to do things to the Great Lakes to give them back their integrity. And really, we have to do something just as much to ourselves. Because, if we're getting a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to build habitat here, and meanwhile, we're allowing one more subdivision into the floodplain, which is what we're doing, then we're not considering ourselves as part of the integrity of that water system. So, it's a spiritual thing. It's like we are part of this; it is continuous with us. It's not separate and something we can fiddle with.” – Dr. Margaret Wooster

Whitefish Dunes State Park, Door County, WI

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”– Anne Bradstreet

Heyman Falls County Park, Shawano County, WI

“We reclaimed a former automotive manufacturing facility, about 50 acres in size. We had to clean it up, and we had to restore it. And it became the gateway to the International Wildlife Refuge. But one of the things we did early on is we said, ‘We want to engage as many people in the project intentionally from the beginning to give them ownership over it.’ So, they can come back in two years, five years, ten years and say, ‘I planted that tree. I did those Willow stakes. I helped with that wetland. I built that stream crossing.’ ... It’s just amazing and gives them a sense of purpose. How do you see yourself in a larger context, that you’re part of this ecosystem?” – Dr. John Hartig

Neshota Beach, Two Rivers, WI

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it; the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”– Andrew Wyeth

Heyman Falls County Park, Shawano County, WI

In reference to the Jewish Festival of Tu BiShvat, which took place in mid-January – “When they saw that sap began to run in the trees, they said ‘Ah! This is the next year. This is when the year of the trees begins.’ ... It's cold and uncomfortable in the land of Israel in the winter and rain. But when spring begins, it begins to get a little bit warm. And it was then that we said, there was such power in the turning of the earth, and such power in the gifts of God with more and increased heat and light, that this deserves a celebration. And so they took this holiday and began to think about what the implications are. And they took a look at the produce of the land of Israel, which is many (there are many kinds of different things grown in the land of Israel) and they began to think about how can we celebrate nature.” – Rabbi Jonathan Biatch

Red River, Shawano County, WI

“I just find it a kind of constant poetry to just never let myself forget, as often as I can throughout the day, how beautiful this place is that I am in. No matter how gray the snow is because it’s later into the winter and it’s all road salt, we get to be here. That’s a profoundly beautiful thing.” – Win Kurlfink

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