The joy of the first snowfall of the season is a distant and slightly unreal memory these days as our corner of the world universally acknowledges it is tired of winter and dreaming of spring.
We are weary of record snowfalls and cold temperatures that have brought us a season of altered plans, closed schools, stranded travelers, and indoor confinement. We have been inconvenienced, rescheduled, whipped about by the winds, and mesmerized by the crawl on our television screens alerting us to road conditions and cancellations.
Winter has its beauties, to be sure, but it sometimes has been a challenge to bring them into focus while digging our way out of the aftermath of the latest storm.
Still, as the snow has piled up, I have been conscious of a kind of acceptance that has settled in. Perhaps it is the fruit of living a little closer to nature as I have done since moving to “the country” 20 or so years ago. It’s as if the price of enjoying the beauty the natural world bestows on me is a humble bow to its inconveniences and a nod to its superiority.
Like everyone else, I am tired of the snow and the cold, but amid it all, I have found myself taking time to enjoy the season’s pleasures by looking out the window at a winged visitor resting on the edge of the bird bath, the rich colors unfolding in a sunrise or a sunset, or the pattern of shadows the trees cast on the snow.
In winter’s confinement and seclusion, I have not only seized these opportunities to pause and gaze outside, but to glance inward. Bereft of external distractions and supports like social gatherings oreven a daily walk, it has been tempting to turn on the radio or TV, check email, or look up something online. Not giving in to those distractions, though, forces me to do what most of us hate – stopping to face whatever is simmering under our cherished and blessedly diverting activity. Maybe that’s why everyone loves a snow day, but just one. After a day, not being able to get out and do what we normally do is no longer a novelty. It’s a nuisance. Stopping and being still means we have to think about what lies beneath. And most of us would rather not look. It’s as if we open the door of a closet we know needs cleaning and shut it quickly, dreading the very appearance of all that stuff that has to be sorted, disposed of, and reorganized.
Winter invites us to be quiet and still in a way that we simply cannot be during other seasons. If we accept the invitation, we may not like the look of all that stuff in the closet, but there may be a treasure in there somewhere, if only we will open the door and start sorting. We still have a month of winter left. Go ahead. Clean the closet.