When I sit down to write, I usually don’t set a goal of pissing people off. Usually. Sometimes it just happens, kind of organically.
This week, though, I know most of you aren’t going to appreciate my enthusiasm. And that will mean an almost guaranteed piss-off. But I just can’t help myself. When I get excited, there’s very little I can do to contain myself.
Look, I don’t know if it’s winter where you are right now, but where I am, just north of Boston on the coast, winter hasn’t really shown itself. Until now. A little late in the game, if you ask me, but better late than never. And it looks like it’s making a big fourth quarter comeback.
Sure, we’ve had plenty of frigid days and reasons to keep the fireplace cranked, but without any real bonafide snow covering the ground and shrouding the trees, the true vibe of winter is just missing. That’s because, at least to me, snow is the x-factor that makes winter winter. I’m well aware, though, that I may be one of a small minority of people living in this region who feels this way. But I’m okay with that. Haters gonna hate, right?
I’m hip to how the saying goes. Be careful what you wish for. But as far as I’m concerned, bring it on. And I say that because snow draws out my inner child unlike almost anything else. Always has, always will. It represents something sacred and beautiful to me. It takes me straight back to my childhood, when life was simpler—when a day in the fresh snow felt like winning the Golden Ticket.
When we were kids and the blizzards came, everything stopped and the only thing we were expected to do was play. It was heaven. Moms and dads and neighbors were home, school was padlocked, and our snowsuits were on, morning to night.
Unfortunately, when most people transition from child to adult their feelings about snow and storms become somewhat contaminated. Sentimentality fades and people stop seeing storms as a natural phenomenon that transforms the world into a giant playground. Instead, they start seeing it as a tedious inconvenience.
Once we become the ones responsible for clearing it, plowing it, and navigating through it, the beauty factor of snow and the storms that bring it disappears. We become jaded. With the exception of the snow sport enthusiasts like skiers and boarders and ice climbers and mushers who live for fresh powder and white outs, the majority of adults I talk to aren’t real fans.
But I think it’s important to remember that even as bad as it gets in some places, we have it way better than our ancestors did. Look back in history, even only a few hundred years, and you’ll see how good we really have it compared to our forefathers. We’ve got insulation and home heating, Thinsulate and Doppler radar, snow blowers and ice melt. When Washington and his posse crossed the frozen Delaware, only a couple hundred years ago, they did it in skimpy tights and wool coats. We’re in hella better shape nowadays, I’d say.
Now don’t think that just because I’m a fan of nor‘easters and blizzards that I’m naïve to the aggravation they cause. I get it. There’s the frigid cold and black ice, power outages and shoveling, shorter days and frostbite, chapped lips and wind chill. But like I always say, life is about balance. And wherever there’s a negative, there’s always a positive somewhere nearby to keep things level. That’s how I can still love winter so much; because I always try to remember the things that make it beautiful.
So now that we’re all firmly in the thick of it again, here are 10 things to love about the storms that paralyze us—the things we tend to forget once we grow up. Maybe, somehow, they’ll remind you that you loved it once too.
- Waking up to complete stillness and a world that’s been completely buried in powdered sugar.
- Bundling up in your fuzzy slippers and bathrobe in front of the fire with a steaming hot coffee and reading the paper from front to back in one shot.
- Sledding and snowshoeing, cross country skiing and skating.
- Checking the School Cancellation List and feeling the joy of seeing your town’s name scroll by.
- Waking your kids up just long enough to tell them there’s no school and savoring the look on their faces.
- Snowmen and snow forts. Snowball fights and hot chocolate, overstuffed with marshmallows.
- Tossing the last shovelful of snow from the driveway and pausing to admire your work.
- Wrapping yourself up inside a Snuggie with your kids and watching movies all day.
- The special kind of tranquility that’s only broken by the scraping sound of the plow trucks.
- An unexpected hard stop in a world where hard stops are hard to find.
Your inner snow angel is in there. You just need a good old-fashioned blizzard to bring it out.