Last week, I awoke to the most glorious sight a 35 year old never thought she'd see in January:
A blanket of snow.
And then for the next few days, there was a snowstorm upon snowstorm that turned the DMV into a winter wonderland. One that hasn't seen for over two years.
Yup, you read that right.
We went without snow for over 700 days!
And while some may celebrate this number of days without the white flakes, I'm probably considered in the minority where I wasn't happy that there wasn't a single snowfall for all of 2023.
Come to think of it...
Maybe a lack of snowfall and an influx of allergies and a drought may have contributed to why last year was a terrible one for me.
What do you think?
As some of you may know, I originally came from Chicago (actually, Northwest Indiana, because no one knows where Gary, Merrillville, or Crown Point is. If you do, I will be very surprised!), so the cold, snowy winters were ingrained in my blood at a very early age. We always looked forward to snow days and walking outside after a snowfall, and even gaping at the beauty a snowfall leaves behind.
In fact, we had to be schooled in how to manage the cold weather and snow. You'd get a failing grade if you don't know how to properly bundle up, clean off the car right after the last flake has fallen, or even driving in this weather.
If I had to be honest, I'd give the DMV a failing grade for handing, or rather, mishandling the snow and cold.
Nobody knows how to drive (no matter what the season), and it seems like a lot of people can't handle the cold like I can.
I have the perfect word for people like this:
Go ahead, you can fight me on this.
But you can't deny that nobody in this region knows how to slow down and take their sweet time driving in the snow, or even staying at home at all costs when the weather is bad. Or how people don't know how to bundle up in layers to keep themselves warm, gloves or mittens included!
I think Scar said it best in circumstances like this:
"I'm surrounded by idiots."
Especially when wintertime comes to town.
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's get to the crux of this week's post.
I LOVE snow.
I've found in recent years that a walk in the snow does wonders for my mental health, providing me with some calmness and peace not felt since my childhood.
But then again, I find that snow brings a sense of innocence and joy that you've experienced as a child when the first snowfall comes, whether during the holidays or in the cold January and February months (maybe March, too).
I'm probably an odd ball when I say this:
I don't find the snow to be a nuisance.
I find it to be a joy.
What is it about the snow that brings out our inner child, and the sense of wonder when we see the world all covered in white as the flakes come out of the sky?
And how can we apply snow as an inspiration for our own lives?
Not just for the coldness, but for the joy that life can bring in this season?
I've got a few ideas, and all it involves is your willingness to see the beauty snowfall can bring.
Do you remember at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Lucy Pevensie first walks through the wardrobe into Narnia, and the whole world is covered in snow? And the sense of wonder and amazement she saw all of the snow, especially with the lamppost in the guiding her further into this new world? That's what it feels like to me whenever it snows for the first time during the winter. It brings up an inner child sense of wonder, amazement, joy, and mirth when I see the world covered in white. For a minute, I forget all of the bad things in the world and see this whole new country ahead of me, all covered in snow. It was as if all of the brown and grey of the dreary winter got replaced by the beautiful innocence that snow seems to bring when a snowfall or snowstorm comes our way. We get to see the world in a new light in this season, and it's in a different way than what the warmer months do to us. I think winter reminds us of our childhood when we saw snow for the first time. We were young, wide-eyed, curious, adventurous, and free. We weren't afraid of the cold we felt in our gloves when we made snowmen, threw snowballs, or made snow angels. We found it exhilarating to go downhill on our sleds at a fast pace and laugh with endless frivolity after we've reached the bottom. We enjoyed those strolls outside in our neighborhood when all of the trees looked beautiful and mystical when the snow is piled up on branches, especially the pine trees! We began to appreciate the silence a snowfall can bring to our neighborhood when there's no cars honking, no arguments, and no noise to penetrate the quietness. That's what snowfall seems to do to me. You forget that you're in your own neighborhood when you're outside in the snow. It's as if a whole new world came before us, all covered in white, and making things beautiful and innocent. And while some may groan at the prospect of cleaning off the cars or going out in the cold, there are those of us who feel the call of adventure to rekindle our childhoods again by making snowmen, going sledding, or just enjoying leisurely strolls in the beautiful world that the heavens gave us in the form of snow. There's a brave, new world out there after a snowfall, and there can be some pretty amazing things to discover when you're out there.
In a way, snowfall has a tendency to bring out our inner child, and most of us get excited when it snows.
We either go out and savor the time in the cold and whiteness of nature, or we look inward and contemplate life over some hot chocolate as the snow falls outside our window.
Or if you're really looking at it from a child's point of view...
You can stomp, pout, cry, and whine when it snows and not have fun when your parents try to get you outside to enjoy the snow instead of being cooped up inside all of the time.
I guess there are people who are more warm-blooded than others, and live for warmer climates than others.
I tend to live for all four seasons, and I'm a rare breed that can handle the cold without complaining, thanks to my upbringing in the Midwest.
My mom, on the other hand...
But that's a whole other blog!
As I look out into the world during the winter when it snows, I'm often amazed and perplexed at the love/hate relationship with snow.
So many people complaining about the cold and the snow, going on and on and on and on...
And yet, you grew up here! (Or wherever you grew up where snow does tend to happen in the forecast.)
I think the sad reality is that there are way too many people who didn't enjoy the snow like previous generations did in much simpler times...
Or, and I'm just riffing here, they grew up too fast.
Maybe something happened in their lives that was so traumatic and horrible that it forced them to give up their innocence and let go of the carefree joys that snow can bring. Or even being a kid can bring.
And with that horrible memory, their hearts and minds hardened, like ice, and not even love can thaw it out to let the joy and light back in again.
And maybe, just maybe, every possible problem that comes with winter, like clearing off the car, driving in the snow, or just moping about the cold, seems to preoccupy their thoughts more than simply enjoying life.
All of the problems and issues seem small to a child who's enjoying the snow.
Perhaps the way to go about winter is not through complaining or griping about the snow and cold, but maybe view things through the eyes of a child.
I feel like there's pieces of my generation and past generations that were forced to grow up too fast because of some rough things that happened to them.
And they forget to let their inner child be healed and loved and forgiven for all of the bad things that's happened to them.
Winter has a way of bringing out our inner child, in the best of times or in the worst of times.
We often forget as we go about our days so fast to slow down and just enjoy things as they are, and even take in the beauty of the world all covered in white.
Seasons are what they are because of how fast or how leisurely the weather changes with each passing month, and if we don't get the chance to slow down and enjoy the beauty of nature with all of the flowers, leaves, creatures, and precipitation, we may miss out on the simple pleasures that we got to experience as kids.
Sounds (or lack thereof).
There's more to the seasons, especially winter, than just complaining and being one-sided about the warmer seasons versus the cooler ones.
There's something about regaining your inner child during the winter months that seems to be so beautiful and so vulnerable...
Especially when you've forgotten about it for a long time.
How does one recapture their childhood essence in a world that is so polarized, negative, and even cold to us?
Well, maybe it all begins with that first snowfall we've had in our lives.
The first moment that brought us wonder, excitement, joy, and hope of more beautiful things in nature with each changing season.
Sometimes, the best way to get out of your head is to just simply go out.
Be absorbed in nature and its beauty, even if you're in a concrete jungle.
Look for the simplistic magnificence in the blossoms, sunrises & sunsets, leaves in the trees changing colors, ripples on the pond, and yes, the snow on the trees and on the ground.
Maybe just taking the time to appreciate nature in its raw perfection in each season can help us rediscover our childhood wonder and adventurous spirit.
Yes, we've grown a little older, a little wiser, and a little bit hardened over the years, but that doesn't mean we should lose that sense of wonder and joy with each passing season due to our jobs, relationships, and every little thing that could harden our hearts.
But if we stay all cooped up because of how each thing makes it too hard to enjoy life outside of our homes, let alone the very depths of our minds, we may miss the chance to see the world in its absolute perfection in each passing season.
Especially in the wintertime.
Think about Lucy, and how she entered a whole new world covered in pure white snow and an adventure that's just waiting around the bend.
Life can be like Lucy's when you think about it.
Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to venture into a new world, opportunity, chance, risk, or whatever calls you to adventure.
Maybe being out in the snow may reawaken the sense of adventure within you.
Or just being out can do that, too.
Being inside is so overrated.
(As fun as this week's blog post is, I need to remind you that these are my thoughts and observations, and you are welcome to debate and even disagree with everything I say in the posts I share with you every other week. But I also need to remind you that I will not tolerate any disrespectful language, hate speech, or derogatory comments from anyone who feels it's important to act immaturely. I will block you if it comes down to that.)
Through my eyes, there's always the call of adventure when the first snowfall comes and encompasses the land in white. I see the world differently: It's beautiful. It's innocent. It's as if I've stepped into another world. It's peaceful. It's full of possibilities and hope. It's everything I could ask for in my favorite season of the year. The cold never bothered me (see what I did there?), and I find it to be comforting to see all of the elements come together to create something so magnificent. And the best part about all of this? It doesn't just have to stay in winter. It happens in every month of the year because of the four seasons that make up the calendar year. There's always the call of adventure in winter, spring, summer, and fall if you allow your heart to be open to take the chance. And maybe, just being out can bring out your inner child's sense of innocence, wonder, hope, and adventure. Allowing your heart to be open to the possibilities when you're enjoying the seasons doesn't have to end in childhood. It can go on for as long as you want it to last. All you have to do is take the first step, and be out of your mind and embrace the beauteous creation that this world has to offer. Don't let your heart become bitter and hardened because of the way life has treated you through the traumas, trials, and tribulations. Especially where the weather is concerned. Learn to let go. Explore. See new things, or look at things in a different way. Be a child again and let your heart be open to the numerous opportunities each season can bring to you. Don't be afraid of change. Be afraid of standing still and not wanting to move at all. Now, if you'll excuse me... I think I sense another snowstorm coming. And a chance to be out... For another adventure.