Inclement weather. We’ve had our share of snow and severe winter weather lately, and it’s impossible to ignore. I like that. In our ultra-convenient lives today, I think it is good that there are some things nature can present that no one can ignore. It’s sad that the quiet things slip past us daily…. the sunsets and falling stars that can’t compete with the televisions and computers. Blizzards seem to be the softest pummeling that nature doles out. Cities can be blanketed by 20 inches of snow and it might stop for a brief moment, but more likely it will just slow down for a while. Blizzards don’t seem to cause as many deaths as tornadoes and floods and tsunamis, but they are just as present and noticeable. We are forced to change our plans, and there is nothing we can do about it. Nature has spoken. Schools close, businesses close, roads close, we scramble to reschedule, and then wait. Wait for the plow drivers to make it through our street, wait for the ice to melt, the snow to be packed into paths, wait for the snow to slowly be moved into different piles by our shovels. Blizzards offer blunt questions. How badly do you need to be hooked into the “rat race”? Do you really need to shovel out your car right this moment to risk lives on slippery roads to get your morning latte? Blizzards also offer secret escapes. Most people get a blissful opportunity to say “no” to society and expectations. Our all-important schedule and carefully laid out plans all screech to a halt and we have no power whatsoever over them. It’s not a day you had planned on doing chores, and although you could, no one is looking. You can just drink hot tea and build a fire and take time for yourself. An honest-to-goodness Snow Day.
This Snow Day forces us to face the fact that our hectic and stressful lives are indeed fashioned by the choices we make. Our lives don’t have to be mind-numbing or chaos-causing. They are what they are because of what we value, and there is no way around that. Even if we imagine that we value time for family and time for exercise and time for healthy food, the lives we live are the proof of what we really value. If we sense a discrepancy between what we do and what we hold deep in our hearts, there is no time better than right now to start making the changes. It is also wise to remember that there is also no harder time than right now. As humans we love habits and there is nothing harder than trying to change what we are already comfortable with, even if what we are comfortable with will destroy us and our relationships. No one ever said lives here would be easy, but they certainly are an adventure. And what a precious thing it is to have a choice over how we live our lives.
I am defeated, and know it, if I meet any human being from whom I find myself unable to learn anything.
~George Herbert Palmer
Even if you don’t live in an area where “snow days” are possible, do yourself a favor and create one every now and then. Create one for the escape of stress and outside expectations, but also create one for the opportunity to really acknowledge nature. In respect for the force that ultimately controls our existence, be prepared for what could befall you. Stock up on things that could keep you alive if a disaster did strike, and make sure your loved ones are prepared as well.