There’s something about new snow that always impresses me. It cloaks brown, withered, dormant foliage with a pristine pillow that glistens like diamonds, rendering even the starkest landscape Christmas Card worthy.
Heavy snows bring complete visual transformation, as humanity hunkers down and all forms of animal life seeks shelter from the cold. It ‘democratizes’ the terrain, covering up blemishes, filling in pot-holes, concealing bad roofs and softening the appearance of junk piles. Pristine, no signs of animal life, tracks, footsteps or wheel marks mar its eye appeal.
Homo-sapiens tend to lay low until they can safely resume their routines, which starts with noting its splendor. Next, we must assert our supremacy. Duty bound, we crawl or tunnel through it to locate a tool we can use to push it around. We must strike a path, carve out a route and make our vehicles again roadworthy by removing and rearranging snow. Animal life emerges to reclaim its turf and the stark beauty of new snow concedes to civilization.
Bad weather can be deadly, especially when one’s unprepared for it. I read recently of middle-eastern and Asians who, used to tropical conditions, died in significant numbers when their lives were unceremoniously interrupted by nature’s winter surprise. Many industries cater to the cold, making all manner of vehicles, snow removal equipment, warm, insulated, waterproof clothing, fleece and heated garments/blankets, space heaters, furnaces, etc. An industry also fights annual winter weight gain, making exercisers, die supplements, diet plans, promoting gym membership, selling home weight-loss aids of every imaginable type. Of course, massive, multiple industries support both winter sport enthusiasts and those who want to avoid the cold at any cost.
I’ll never forget the first time I stood atop a Colorado mountain, surveying the majestic spectacle my 12,000 foot above sea-level vantage point provided: 360 degrees of peaks whose tree lines yielded to summits that mingled with clouds. I never felt closer to God, which was fortunate, since, I unknowingly chose a trail that considerable eclipsed my skiing ability. Needless to say, I petitioned Him many times as I negotiated my descent, mostly on my butt.
To me, snow symbolizes promise and potential. We can commit to make positive changes or decide to stay the course.
For those lucky enough to have homes, the protective cocoon of a winter refuge can host a plan for revival–so by spring or summer at the latest, we reemerge, improved: more fit, more active, perhaps better looking and hopefully, more prosperous. Winter can provide an opportunity to analyze our routines and effectiveness. Many decide that reinvention is possible. There’s a hopefulness that many experience at the start of a new year. We resolve to relinquish bad habits in favor of healthier behavior and sometimes, we succeed.
Will we sprout a plan that helps us improve our health, appearance, spirituality, careers or relationships? Will we “nest” all winter, grow lethargic and do little to improve our chances or health when we reemerge in the spring? As the crocuses and tulips bloom, where will you be?
As the mercury rises and the soft, glistening, white layer grows gray and shrinks to reveal flaws it so cleverly concealed…as vehicle colors, long obscured by thick coatings of corrosive crud again gleam in the sunlight, as executives, salespeople and shareholders orchestrate and attend annual meetings, as storm drains overflow, sump pumps fail and basements flood, as students plan for Spring Break, as cyclists tune their equipment and as boaters ready their crafts, what will you be up to?
Yesterday, Central Ohio got about an inch of fluffy, new snow. Last night I “cleared my path.” It’s supposed to snow heavily here tomorrow. If it does, I’ll do the same. Hopefully, I’ll light a fire later and watch some TV.
This winter, I’ll drink my diet gruel, do my best not to cheat, look for a job and think about spring. But before any of that, I want to watch the sunrise as I have my morning coffee. Before I dig out I want to to take in the pristine unspoiled, clean carpet, devoid of human or animal footsteps and tree branches bending under pillows of fluff.
I want to appreciate what I consider to be a reminder to each of us; that if we pause, watch and listen, we may see the need to to do some things differently. And if that’s the case, there’s still time.
Let it snow…