Timing is important! Perhaps now is not the time to profess the virtues of snow while our state is being hammered with feet of snow as opposed to inches. Adults often see it as something to be dealt with, and children will see it as something to have fun with. Following a year of pandemic, where many of us have sheltered in place, a crippling snowstorm can try our resolve as our current storm is a large one and our governor is once again telling us to shelter in place until it is safe to move about.
When it comes to shoveling it off our deck and walkways I am still awed with the quiet it produces. It makes me want to sing the song by the Carpenters, whose lyrics go something like this: “There is a kind of hush all over the world tonight, all over the world”. The fresh snow covers the dingy snow and makes everything look new again. Early in the morning I love to go out and shovel as the silence outside takes me into another world where noisy distractions don’t exist and tranquility and peace reigns.
Homestead Perspectives On Snow
When the sun shines and hits that newly fallen snow, it is like millions of diamonds sparkling around me, and I find myself holding my breath in total awe over the sight. Adults more than not see snow differently than a child sees new snow. Adults sometimes grudgingly see new snow as one more task to accomplish. Children see it as something to play in, make a snowman, go sledding, make snow angels or just have fun in.
Newness and Silence
New snow makes everything temporarily beautiful. Standing still while the flakes are gently falling around me is so overpowering especially realizing that no two flakes are alike. New snow muffles sound and everything is suddenly quiet, slowed down to where life's struggles and problems are for a moment forgotten.
Aristotle once said that to appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, you have to stand out in the cold. Now, before the reader labels me a nutcase, let me explain about our snow. We live at 9,800 feet elevation in the mountains and we see snow 6 to 7 months a year. We are out in the cold very often. We can get up to 300 inches of snow some years. We have lived here full time for almost a quarter of a century. We see a lot of snow and this time of year we have snow piles 6 to 8 feet high. I am only a few months short of 80 years old and I am still transfixed by a new snowfall and the silent beauty it produces.
Slow Down and Enjoy Natural Beauty
I am fully aware that I have a lot of shoveling ahead of me but I never hesitate to stop and just appreciate the snow and all it represents. We adults get sidetracked or overwhelmed by new snowfall and the work it entails. I still enjoy sledding down our driveway even though the long walk back up is getting harder and takes longer. I set aside time to have fun and frequently pause to appreciate the wonder and beauty of a new snow.
Nature's Sculptures are Like No Other
In cities where there are many structures that have sharp angles, here in the mountains what the wind does artistically transform the snow into something of beauty. It creates the most amazing drifts that are so gracefully sculpted and designed with smooth, rounded and graceful lines. Like most winter dwellers, when I see a storm headed our way, I say "not again" and do not always look favorably upon another storm. When it gets here, however, I am reminded of the newness, beauty and silence it provides before I am forced to get down to the grueling work of clearing it.
There is something refreshing to the soul when experiencing newly fallen snow and the wonderful silence and newness it provides. It reminds me of standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon where I would talk in a whisper without realizing I was doing it. That is the kind of awe I experience when those flakes gently float to earth and how the snow muffles the sound.
I’m also aware of how snow can be frustrating and sometimes destructive. There are avalanches, of course, and sometimes the snow accumulates in feet, and not inches. This will test even the most staunch person's attitude, mine included. Then there are the large clumps of snow that fall off trees when you are clearing snow pathways that always manage to somehow go down your collar which can bring a litany of unpleasant words you would not usually utter.
Living in a semi arid state we depend on snow to provide summer moisture. That moisture is needed to keep streams flowing into lakes and reservoirs which provide water for growth, agriculture and our very survival. Sometimes it is hard to keep the benefits of snow in perspective, but I have learned that instead of being overwhelmed with several feet of snow, to divide it into portions. We have received up to 6’ of snow in a single storm but mostly we get 1 to 3 feet at a time. When taking it in segments over time it is not so overwhelming and we don’t over tax ourselves physically.
Bruce and Carol McElmurray live in the mountains in southern Colorado with their canine family and take measures to protect them from the wild predators that are around. They lead a somewhat different lifestyle and for more on them and their canine family visit their blog site at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read all of Bruce's Mother Earth news posts here.
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