When it snows, I get a little reflective :) www.theshortesttallman.com

When It Snows

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When it snows, I get a little reflective :) www.theshortesttallman.comI get pretty jazzed up when we get a major weather event. Our major weather events aren’t usually very major comparatively; in Upstate New York, our major events rarely involve something catastrophic like a hurricane or a tornado. We rarely get earthquakes, and when we do they aren’t really noticeable, not that that’s weather. I am a bit of a worry-er, caught that gene from both of my parents, so major weather events put me on high alert.

The day before a big snow storm, I get excited and I start planning. I went shopping yesterday, and yes I was due for a big shopping trip anyway, but I also had the snowstorm in mind. I made sure we had enough snacks, as well as the staples like bread and milk. I decided that this morning would be a great reason to make french toast for breakfast, so I made sure I bought the brioche that my family loves, and no one would even know it’s an Aldi’s product.

I checked at least a million times for a snow day throughout the evening and night. Why didn’t they call it in advance? Sure, this storm was labeled as difficult to predict with the typical level of meteorological certainty, but even the most modest estimates put this as a decent winter event.

Every time I await a snow day, I think about how different it was for me when I was teaching. I was monitoring two districts, thinking about how a snow day would impact my curriculum plans and how excited I would be to spend a work day at home. I guess now, I’m still on high alert, but my excitement has shifted- the kids could use a day off, too. Nothing beats an unexpected day off.

This storm was different than most others. The snow was so wet, even now about 20 hours after the storm began, the branches are still heavily weighed down with the snow. The wind didn’t seem to pick up the way they had predicted, but the snowfall totals were more than expected. Everything is coated in a thick layer of white, with nature’s unforgiving force proven to be too much for many branches and limbs that lie strewn about, ripped from its body. The site of the fresh, broken wood, raw like ripped flesh.

That part of it is a little unsettling, a little scary. The force of nature doesn’t really care what I think or how much we paid for that fence a few years ago, or how the shape of that tree was aesthetically lovely in my sweet neighborhood. Mother nature, as they say, gives no effs. As beautiful as the snow is, white and reflective of the light, the brutality is right there.

The beauty of the snow is fleeting. By tomorrow, it will be dirty and pushed aside by humans, for humans. It will melt, turn into slush and mud, and the beauty will give way to pure inconvenience.

Interesting really, because what makes it beautiful, and what makes it ugly? It’s funny how human perception can love one moment of nature and despise the next, when really it is all part of one cycle of change and continuance. You can’t have the beauty of the snow without the other side of the coin.

Not terribly unlike people. The beauty of a person comes with the other, less desirable qualities. For example, the joy of having a child comes with the stress of the inevitable tantrums and challenges. The ecstasy of being with your significant other gives way to frustration with their annoying habits.

The most striking part of any weather event is how it causes pause and unity. Everyone has to stop what they are doing, take notice, and deal with it. Normal life always, without fail, pauses. Whatever that “normal” is, just about everybody has similar thoughts and actions during a snow storm. People have to stop what they are doing, and contend with nature, which has come right into our faces, giving no effs.

It’s actually lovely, really, that weather does this. It’s like mother nature is wise enough to know that the world needs a reset. We need a pause and a we’re-all-in-this-together moment. Everyone went through the same thing today in my community, regardless of how different our individual lives are. We all have something to talk about, too. A commonality among different people. I wonder what we would be like if we didn’t have the highs and lows of weather; if it was always the same.

The weather seems to be a lot like our own personal lives and journeys, or maybe we are a lot like it.

Maybe it’s not a coincidence.