I live in a four-season climate, giving me ample opportunities to test my will and positive outlook against hail, sleet, tornados, flash flooding, wind, fog, brutal thunderstorms, humidity so thick that the mosquitoes are laying their eggs in the open air, smog, the dreaded “wintry mix”, 100°+ temps, -20° temps and snow.
It’s kind of pretty, kind of destructive and kind of demanding.
Snow removal is a laborious process. While not exactly fun, it’s the kind of mindless task that gives you space to think. And to notice what you’re thinking about. And to think something new.
My grandmother had a saying: “Big flakes, little snow.” Those big, gorgeous, fluffy flakes that drift down from the heavens? Noooo problem. Don’t even bother to sweep them away because they’ll melt at the first sign of sun.
But the little flakes? Those can make your life miserable. Like the little thoughts that dart through our head virtually unnoticed, these suckers build up and accumulate until you have a real mess on your hands.
Sometimes, like a tree that just had 6+ inches of heavy wet snow dropped on it, we know we’ve got troubles. There’s nothing for it than to bear that burden until time and gradual warming allow you to shake free. For a time, you’ll have to endure it, bending and (hopefully) not breaking.
My local TV weather app said we got 5 inches of snow. I thought “Great! I already removed about four inches last night so this will be a breeze!” Turns out it was 5 inches since midnight. Also turns out that the guy at the TV station can’t measure because that was 6 or more inches of the stuff in my driveway.
It’s all relative, isn’t it? You’re doing better than some and worse than others. You haven’t measured up to your wildest dreams OR your worst nightmares. (probably) Comparison changes everything.
Unless you’re on a pair of skis, snow slows you down. It makes you drive slower, if at all. It makes you reevaluate your plans, winnowing down the to-do list and re-ordering priorities. And sometimes, there is the sweet bonus of a “snow day.” A day out of time, a little gift from the universe to stop and try something different.
Of course, it’s harder to keep your equilibrium if “snow day” means sleeping on a cot at Midway because all flights are cancelled. But even that can be a chance to read a novel, strike up a conversation with a stranger, or write a love letter. It’s a space out of time. You choose whether to make that space bitter or sweet.
It’s still snowing. I’ll have to go back out to clear it again at some point today. But I’ll remind myself to be grateful. (Thank you person who invented snow blowers. If you were here, I’d buy you a drink. And make you a cake. And possibly kiss you.) I might even stop to take a picture. Or just enjoy the way my neighborhood sounds with 10 inches of sound insulation spread over it.
And then I’ll clear it away so that life can go on.
All images taken by me with an iPhone. With gloves on. In the blowing snow. Up hill. Both ways.