Well, here we are in the Pacific Northwest with the first snow storm in eleven or so years. It is coming down pretty good out there and we probably got upwards of 6-8 inches of snow, overnight. Many school districts, including ours, closed two hours early yesterday in an effort to get everyone to the safety of their own home. The grocery store lines were worse than a Thanksgiving day rush and the isles looked like barren wastelands, void of basic sustenance like bread, veggies, and most importantly coffee! People were preparing for what the news was calling”snowmaggedon”.
What you have to understand, especially if you live anywhere where regular snowstorms are part of your world, is that 1-2 inches of show in the Pacific Northwest urban areas can cause bedlam. We are just not prepared like those of you who experience this regularly. So the world in effect shuts down when even the threat and in this case the reality of 8 + inches of snow is upon us. But why do we have to call it “Snomaggedon” or “Snowpocolypse”? Why don’t we re-frame our thinking and call it “Snirvana”, “Sneaven” or “Snowgri-La”?
I like the snow, in fact I love the beauty of the soft, quiet calm that wraps my world in stillness. I like the feeling of the cool shiver running down my spine and the intake of the sharp cold in my lungs as I wander through the bright clean powder. I love sitting inside, warm from the fire, watching the birds quick and efficient movement to the feeders, in contrast to the peaceful calm that surrounds them. I am up early to take all this in on my own. My time in the mornings is precious, a way to reflect and organize my thoughts and feelings for the day. Today, when I am greeted by a winter wonderland, this time feels even more valuable than usual, almost sacred.
I know that soon there will be children up, outside playing and sledding through the yards, packing snowballs and lobbing them at one another, tracking in heaps of snow as they come to warm up by my tranquil fire… but that is part of the beauty of a snow day, too. The fun, the endless hours of creativity, the pure joy of being outside embarking on new adventures. It is wonderful to watch adults relishing in childhood memories in an attempt to recreate them and kids using their imaginations to build magical worlds new to them. Snow seems to bring out the inner child in us all.
What I look forward to the most is something truly magical… it is when we are pulled away from electronic stimulation, social networking and the like into real situations with real live humans, having real experiences. The joy of human connection seems to be everywhere in the snow. The outside world pulls us into its mystical realm for hours. I know this does not last forever, usually only a day or so in our house, before the pull from devices creeps back in, but until it does I will savor every moment.
Then when the time comes to head back inside from the cold frozen world , the desire to thaw out and recharge for a bit takes hold, something equally extraordinary happens… we continue to come together. Board games and card games get resurrected, baking happens, toes get painted, beauty masks that have been hiding in the bathroom since Christmas get used, books are read, music gets played and danced to, naps frequently are taken, songs are sung, scripts are practiced, stories are written… creativity continues to thrive.
I realize that if snow was something that we encountered regularly this would not be such a magnificent and lovely escape from our regularly scheduled life-program. But because it is rare to see this much snow, we Pacific Northwest humans get to relish in the awesomeness of how it changes our perspective for a time… at least that is how I am choosing to look at it.
I am not naive to think that there is not hardship with this much snow. We live in an area that can handle rain like nobody’s business but in this icy form life as we know it comes to a halt. In fact , the governor has already called a state of emergency and the weather-people are predicting that this snow may be sticking around for over a week. I know I will be feeling claustrophobic soon and that school may be extended until late June early July, but for the moment I want to live in this supernatural fantasy-land. I want to take in the beauty, play with my family, seek joy in the stillness and tranquility, and enjoy the pause of life through this crystal lens… for the time being anyhow. Because reality is, I know, that soon it will all melt back to our watery-rainy-regularly-scheduled programming.
So… be safe, be well, be creative, be connected, be kind and be careful… and enjoy “Snarnia”.
** And as for all my teacher friends, this may mean that we are in school until July…so make the memories now, that can sustain us as we tack on days on to our school year. **