This week in Colorado, we had our first snow of the season. Yay!
I know what some of you are thinking. It might be the opposite of yay (boo!) or something even stronger perhaps. Because in Missouri, where I grew up, winter was not something adults often celebrated. It was something we survived. And snow was a four-letter word.
Winter meant gray skies; bare, dead-looking trees; humidity-in-the-air, bone-chilling cold that seeps in despite the layers and makes your teeth chatter. Snow meant bad roads and excruciating commutes; salt on the sidewalk to prevent falls; shoveling the driveway.
Every year we felt this inevitability that it couldn’t be stopped. That it was coming whether we wanted it to or not and all we could do was just hope that we could hang in there and that it went away quickly. Hope that it wasn’t as bad as years past. (1982 anyone?)
But it wasn’t always that way.
As kids, we prayed for snow, wished for it constantly. I remember actually sweating with anticipation as we watched the news, the names of schools streaming by: delayed, on snow schedule, closed. Please let mine be closed, please let mine be closed!
The flood of relief and delight as my school flashed up: closed! (Especially - especially! - if the same was not true for a sibling.) A whole day off when I wasn’t home sick meant I could watch TV and go outside. It felt like the most decadent thing in the world.
And speaking of outside, what about snow pants and sledding? Snowmen and snowball fights? What about snow cream? (Was that a thing for anyone but us?!) What about hot chocolate afterward, with marshmallows, of course, and a white Christmas?
Snow was magical once.
And guys, that’s how I get to think about it again, as an adult, every time it comes.
I mean commutes can still be bad, but commutes in the rain can be bad here, so snow is just par for the course. Plus, vehicles are purchased with snow in mind - all-wheel, or four-wheel drive, and snow tires. In Missouri, I had front-wheel drive and never considered my tires.
The cold is different here too because the air is drier and we’re closer to the sun. Hand to heart it makes a difference.
I had to travel to Detroit in January a couple years ago and the weather report said 30 degrees. Meh, 30 degrees, no big deal; I just brought a regular coat. Holy crap, I thought when I got there, since when does 30 degrees feel like the Arctic?!? I was completely unprepared - no hat, no scarf, no gloves. People side-eyed me as if they no longer believed I lived near the mountains.
But seriously, some of the most beautiful days here are days when it snows.
Picture a crisp day with a sun that actually warms you and that makes the snow sparkle. A coat actually keeps you toasty, and boots! I love wearing boots. And the light in my place just looks different. The sun reflects off the snow and bounces in everywhere; it’s so much brighter in my little garden-level than when the light depends on the angle of the sun.
The mountains look like a painting. Man, don’t mountains and snow just go together? Like peanut butter and jelly. It doesn’t hurt either, that some of our favorite mountain activities require snow. (You knew I couldn’t get through a post about snow and not mention it…)
Anyway, there’s something about getting to feel excited when it snows - to feel giddy like a kid again - instead of feeling dread. But it doesn’t have to be snow because it’s not really about the snow.
It’s about the joy.
It’s about the joy we maybe used to feel for something that responsibilities and stress and worry have changed for us, and about how really, really cool it can be to rediscover it. How really, really connected to ourselves it can make us feel because that kid that used to feel joy about that thing is still in there somewhere albeit buried a bit under the layers of our lives.
It could be anything at all really, you know? Anything that pushes your concerns away for a moment or an hour or a day. Anything that floods you with that anticipation and delight and abandon.
Anything that maybe makes you feel a little more found.