Snow Succulence

As I write this from my home in the Charlotte, NC vicinity, we are on our third week of constant cold, and for three weekends in a row, we have had an insignificant amount of snow. Snow isn’t prevalent during the winter in this area. I much prefer the weather like we were having at Christmas time when we were experiencing 70-degree weather. I was walking around outdoors in shorts and a t-shirt, much to my pleasure. Currently, however, I’m wearing long-sleeve shirts, jeans, and thick fluffy socks to keep me warm. It’s contemptuous cold, and I don’t like being cold. It turns me into a hermit—one who doesn’t go outside unless it is absolutely necessary.  When it’s cold, and I’m talking snow temperature 32 degrees cold or colder, we deserve beautiful significant snow to offset the doldrums of winter. Just one snow, mind you. Allow us the benefits of snow, then clear on out and bring on spring. This ongoing cold with insignificant snow isn’t to my liking.

Did I mention, I don’t like being cold?

Snow. A significant one that covers everything with several fluffy white inches. The kind that stops us from having to do a lot except for watching the flakes, that are never alike if you put them under a microscope (which I’ve never tested but believe what I’ve been told all my life), and watching them land on the birdbath, limbs of a tree, and anything else on its path. Snow that will provide an opportunity to go outside and catch those non-alike particles on our tongue, nose, forehead and hair since all is uncovered due to lack of hat because of the speed to go outside so as not to miss the opportunity should the snow stop too soon.

Snow. It shifts the world into quietness. You hear nothing except for the crunch of the snow beneath your boots or the trickle of the creek that did not freeze over as you walk amongst the trees.

Several years ago in Charlotte, we had one of the prettiest snows I’ve ever experienced. It was thick, fluffy, and at least six inches. It was pretty while it came down, and prettier as it clung to everything around us. My teenage daughter and I went for a winter walk that is a treasured memory. 

We walked side by side and listened to the quiet, absorbing the beauty this rare snow had provided us. We were physically cold. But we were emotionally warmed by it all. We knew this did not happen for us often, and that walk through our neighborhood was a walk unlike any other we had taken or would take again. We relished the experience. 

Snow. It calls us to just be. Be in the elements, dressed appropriately, of course, tuned into the quiet. It is amazing how the quiet of the snow, can quiet our spirits. 

Last year, it snowed close to a foot in my hometown of Asheville, NC. It was a white Christmas for my dad who lived in the house I grew up in. But my husband, daughter, and I had to delay our trip to visit him by a day because the roads were not passable. When we arrived, the snow was still fluffy thick, clinging to trees, bushes, and everything else. My sister, who had arrived at my dad’s prior to the snow, and I took a blanket and sat outside on the porch swing, watching a bright red cardinal feast at the birdfeeder in the yard. Our mom had passed away in September, and we both observed this bird’s presence with awe. If it weren’t for the snow, we would probably have been inside unaware we were being visited.

Growing up in Asheville, snows were gifts that kept on giving. In the south, we don’t keep going to school when it snows. We would be out of school for many days, which was always great for a non-loving school kind of gal, especially when a biology test lurked around the back-to-school corner. We had the privilege of living on a dead-end dirt road that had a steep incline, (we called where we lived, “the hill”) and there was another incline in the field behind our house. Snow days, I feel sure, became our parents’ great joy, because we kids of the hill stayed outside for many hours at a time, packing down the sled path, waxing the metal of our wood sleds, getting ready for being outside, all day, sledding down the hill until our cold hands or feet could take no more. 

I remember one winter my dad’s Navy wool coat became my winter coat and I managed to lose all the plastic buttons with the anchor symbol on them. In my adult reflection, he had that coat for 15 plus years and managed to keep it in ship shape until I became the wearer. Hopping onto the back of my neighbor friend, Tony, as we doubled up to ride down together on one sled, I suspect was the force that did away with the buttons. The sacrifice was worth it. What fun we had with snow. What great experiences we young kids had building our sledding haven together and enjoying the fruits of our labors. I can still feel the heaviness, warmth, and feel of my dad’s wool coat as I reflect on that memory.

Snow and all the various memories and experiences it’s created for me are treasures. 

Is it, though, the snow I am wishing for? Or is it the succulence, the mental nourishment that is offered.

The being. 

The quiet.

The memory-making experiences.

The slowed-down pace from the hectic schedules we impose upon ourselves. 

The no-guilt feeling with slowing down.

Can we tap into all of that without snow? 

I hope so. We should be able to wrap ourselves in the warmth of allowing ourselves to  

pause, breathe and quiet our spirits.

Mother Nature has many ways to offer succulence if we will only allow ourselves to take a break for the benefit of our mental nourishment.

Be kind to yourself. Listen to the silence. You may discover it sounds like your life’s beating heart.

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