Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lessons from the Snow

Today, after another quiet & peaceful night of sleeping well, I find myself pondering the snow that we have been surrounded with for many days now. Snow-- especially this much snow in the South-- forces us to slow down & take life at a totally different pace. Many of us are stranded at home & I have heard the term "cabin fever" more in the last week than I have in my entire life.

There is something beautiful about the glistening sheet of white that surrounds us, yet after this many days there is something disturbing & blinding about it as well. When you think of the color white, your mind may immediately think of purity, cleanliness, & innocence. In our culture, those are the kinds of associations that have been made. This is why a bride wears white & why some brides are too ashamed to wear white.

Just like this record snowfall has its positive sides & negative sides, the color white has positive & negative connotations as well. White elephants are rare & valuable. White knights come to the rescue of people in distress. A white list is a list of good & acceptable items. Pearly whites are teeth that are healthy & white.  On the other hand, to white wash something means to cover up & conceal it. A whiteout is a time of zero visibility. White lightning is an illegal moonshine. The white flag symbolizes surrender. White is the color of death & mourning in some eastern civilizations.

Just like most things, it is what you make of it! You can view the snowy scenery around us as beautiful, or as blinding. You can be stuck inside, or you can get outside & play! You can feel stranded & inconvenienced, or you can take it as a much needed opportunity to slow down & catch your breath.  A world covered in snow moves at a different pace-- everything's more thought out & careful. Drivers put down their cell phones & watch the road. Mothers leave the dishes in the sink & head outside to make sure their children stay warm & safe. Fathers miss work & use their technical know-how to come up with inventive ways to sled with the kids. People take time to sit down & make a cup of hot cocoa instead of waiting in line at Starbuck's for a caffeine fix to make it through a hectic day. Children put down their video games & head outside to a world of endless things to imagine & create. Bosses actually think about the lengths that their employees take to get to work instead of worrying about whether they are on time or not.  Elderly people sit & remember their first snowfall, or the wonderful adventures they had they had as a child.

I look out my window at the little mazes of footprints in the yard & I feel safe in knowing who has come & who has gone... But what if the thing that scares me most was already inside my own house to begin with? I can't help but wonder if the wintery wonderland outside has given me too much time to ponder the very things that are happening inside the walls that I call home. I started this week with a much different outlook than the one I have now. I have come a long way from the moments when there was a light dusting of snow on the ground until now when the snow has melted & refrozen & melted & iced over again. I started out afraid & analyzing every aspect of it all, & now I am more accepting & at peace with what I have learned. Like everything in life, it is a process. Just like the snow will melt & freeze until eventually the conditions are right for it to be gone, I too will go through a process of coming to terms with my surroundings & with the new normal that will eventually be as comfortable to me as my old normal was.

As you watch the world around you melt, hold fast to the little lessons that you have learned along the way! Slow down, take time to appreciate the little things that usually go unnoticed, & above all enjoy life! You have the power to make positives or negatives out of the things in your life, so you decide! Are you stuck inside, or are you taking the time to breath deeper & relax?

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