A blanket of snow changes the entire landscape in a way best depicted by artists and poets. It’s a completely different world than the one we experience in summer, and it demands we adjust to it.
Snow makes us slow down. We must be more deliberate. It takes a few minutes to dress warmly before going out the door.Driving requires extra caution. When walking, each step calls for a little more thought.
When there’s enough snow, not only does it slow things down, but it can bring everything to a quiet standstill like nothing else. It disrupts our fast-paced routine and forces a different perspective upon us.
I love it when we get a foot or more of snow. It stops everything. No work. No school. I can take satisfaction in knowing we’ve all been laid low for a while. Why should I do something no one else is doing? It’s a great time to stay in and read a book.
Before the new wears off, there’s a mystical feeling of unity when all anyone can do is reflect on the present moment. Perhaps we do so with joy. Perhaps with dread. But for a time, we’re all in this glorious thing together.
Do you think I romanticize too much? I’ve been through a number of big snows and know how snarled up things can get. I know what it’s like to be stranded both at home and away from home for a few days.
After a big storm, it takes effort to get back to something like normal again. But for a time, there’s enchantment.
Those who live further north than I do know what it means to cope with big snows as part of their way of life. In her book A Place in the Woods, Helen Hoover describes the first winter she and her husband lived in a far northern Minnesota cabin. It was 1954. Things were different then.
Yet some things never change, such as the need for both self reliance and help from neighbors near and far. Being a good neighbor shouldn’t be overlooked either. The Hoovers found survival depended on it, not only for themselves, but for others, too.
They gave up city life in Chicago to embrace an isolated lifestyle that called for resourcefulness and endurance. The locals didn’t think they’d tough it out through the winter, but they made it.
Helen Hoover’s book isn’t a “survival how-to,” but it gives a glimpse of what it’s like to live in difficult winter conditions without electricity or ready transportation. A car wreck and recovery from injuries left them in a bind for a time.
It’s not easy facing such challenges in an unfamiliar setting, but they proved it can be done. Perhaps one day we’ll face circumstances in which it must be done because there’s no other choice.
How prepared are you for the next time you’re slowed down or stopped by a big snow? Remember, think survival.