Sunday, February 23, 2014

Things I've Learned From Snow

We’ve had a lot of it lately. Frankly, I’m sick of looking at it. But it’s taught me a few things. I thought I’d sum them up in a list.

1.     Slow down. While driving home from a yoga event one morning, taking my usual pace, I skidded on the ice and nearly hit a car. Fortunately, there was no one in the left lane so I was able to slide over without mishap. Sometimes we need to adjust our pace. We can’t approach every situation in the same manner. When there’s an obstacle in our path like black ice or fog, it’s a no-brainer to take our time. Icy, snowy roads teach adjustment and flexibility. Leave extra time or don’t go out at all.

2.     Be helpful. Snow creates problems for everyone. Sometimes we get caught up in our own issues and forget to look out for the other guy. Recently, I overheard an elderly woman exclaiming how relieved she was that an unknown neighbor had shoveled her walk. In my own family my husband noticed that our neighbors weren’t home during an ice storm and their dog was barking inside. He surmised that something was amiss and cleared their driveway and sidewalk. The next day my neighbor told me she’d been at the hospital all night with her sick husband and she was nearly in tears when she came home and found that she could get into her driveway. Snow teaches us how to be an angel for someone else.

3.     Be grateful to go outside (and be grateful to stay inside). My brother looks forward to snow because he loves to ski. I usually avoid going out in it, but this year I forced myself to take a couple of walks. There is nothing as clean and crisp as the feeling of walking in snow. Bundle up like your kids and get out there! Snow teaches us to play! On the flip side, snow teaches us how lucky we are to be warm and safe inside.

4.     Feed the birds before the snow comes down. For weeks I couldn’t get to my birdfeeder because the ice was so thick. Next time snow is predicted (any minute?) I’m heading out to my birdfeeder. There’s nothing more lovely than watching birds peck at their birdseed after a snow storm, and nothing sadder than looking out at an empty feeder and realizing you can’t get out there to feed your feathered friends.

5.     Have patience. It seems like it will never stop snowing, it seems like you will never be able to get to the store or back to yoga class, it seems like you may go crazy being cooped up all day. But…this will pass. This will melt. And spring will come (in just a few weeks!). Snow teaches us that patience pays.

6.     Be prepared. Not just be prepared in terms of getting milk and bread in the house (or chia seeds or whatever you think you can’t possibly live without), but be prepared to change your plans. Snow teaches us how to let go of whatever we were planning, to let go of our schedules, routines, and must-dos.

7.     And last (though I could probably keep going) snow teaches us to open our eyes, to take our gazes off our computer screens and cell phones, and marvel at the incredible beauty around us. Just about everything looks good in the snow (at first, anyway). It’s Mother Nature's makeover-- covering cars, trees, streets, homes, and everything else in its path with an incredible substance that transforms the world to a place that is fresh, clean, and still. Enjoy!

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