Something totally normal is about to happen, we are going to have our first winter snowstorm in the Connecticut. It is December, and despite the obvious impact of global climate change, it tends to snow this time of year. The weather forecasters are excitedly warning us of potential accumulation. Families are checking their shovels, salt, and food supplies, and we’re all looking forward to the joy of the first storm. It feels so good to feel this way.
Of course, this is not a normal year. Usually, when that first storm comes, I relax into the realization that nature will have its way with us. I revel in the notion that the foolish delusion that I am in charge of anything will be disrupted by impassable roads. The very idea that things will stop for the weather serves as a reminder that I am not in control. As I write this nostalgic reflection on my relationship with the snow, I am laughing. No reminders of nature’s power are necessary this year. Snow will not disrupt nearly as much as COVID-19 has already done.
We’ve gone and changed the snow storm rules, too. No more snow days in this predominantly online world. Unless the power goes out, most things can continue as usual. I suppose that is a good thing. Some years, snow has made it close to impossible to complete the goals of our curriculum. And for the K-12 group, they often extend the year in ways that disrupt family vacations and summer camp plans. Ok, it is probably a good thing to not let the snow disrupt everything. But maybe a little pause is in order?
As I reflect on my usual joyful feeling for all but those late March snowstorms, I am wondering how to reap the rewards of the modified snow day. Here’s my list.
- Let the sound of snow soothe you. Even if we are working from home snow storms bring quiet. I always know we’ve had a storm before I open my eyes, because of the change in the sound scape. That blanket of snow muffles the noises outside my window. When coupled with the reduction in traffic, it is a wonderfully quiet world. Something about that quiet helps me slow my pace, enjoy my morning coffee, and think more clearly. It just seems to say, don’t rush.
- Even if you are a person who hates winter, you have to admit that a fresh blanket of snow is beautiful. Take it in. I think looking out at the snow evokes the same feeling of awe that staring at the ocean conjures. Perhaps my brain knows that snow is water and so creates the same response. Well, beauty tends to bring joy, and we need some joy in our lives, so let it come through. Joy often makes room for ideas and insights, too, so taking that moment to see the beauty may inspire new productivity elsewhere. Maybe, or maybe the joy is enough.
- Go out and play. We are all tired of our homes. Many of us have done our best to take in the foliage, bicycle until the last possible day, or just take a walk to counteract the sense of monotony that our constrained movements can inspire. Snow is just one more opportunity to disrupt that potential despair. You don’t have to ski or shovel if you don’t want to (I admit it, I even like to shovel), but a few minutes of walking outside and breathing in the cold snowy air can inspire a feeling of health and wellness. Who doesn’t need that, right now?
Don’t worry, you can do all of this and still keep up with your work. It’s just a small pause, a shift in your pace, an opportunity for mindfulness that the change in the scenery can inspire. Take the time to let that work.
Here’s the thing, folks, we have a long way to go before normalcy returns, and we all need strategies to keep us from COVID-19 fatigue. Even with all the changes in our lives, anticipating the fun of a snow storm feels, well normal. So, let that anticipation excite you. Let the natural world inspire you. Let the positive disruption of a modified snow day create a feeling of hope that things will be better in the spring. And yes, let it snow!