“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…” It’s that time of year. The white stuff, aka snow, is forecast, falling, changing to a wintry mix, cancelling school, snarling traffic, causing roofs to collapse, and putting shovel-wielding workers at risk of heart attack. The white stuff is also pulling children out of doors to exercise, giving harried teachers a day off, blanketing everything in an eye-popping mantle of glistening crystal, and providing much-needed slow-release moisture for plants and aquifers.
Love it or hate it, snow is going to fall. We can plan for it, but we can’t stop or alter the inexorable accumulation. Snow is a fact of life in many temperate zones and in most of the arctic. Pardon the cliché, but it is what it is.
Personally, I love it.
I must admit that I have never lived in a place like Buffalo, where the stuff starts with the first cold breeze and never lets up until late spring. But I have lived in Detroit, where it snows almost every day in the wintertime, and New Jersey, where it’s either rain or blizzard conditions with very little in between.
At least temporarily, snow brings a welcome halt to the constant low-level din of the metropolitan area where I live. Planes stop flying, the roads become deserted, and the snow itself acts as a noise buffer, even for footsteps and barking dogs. A really snowy morning is the closest to peaceful that metropolitan residents can find. (It’s also a painful reminder of the racket that is city life, which begins again with snow blowers the minute the flakes cease to fall.)
Snow tends to magnify our basic personality traits. Grumpy people have something to grouse about, and lively people pull out the sleds or the ice skates. Quiet, bookish people have the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket with something to read. Romantics take strolls, hand-in-hand, alternately admiring the scenery and each other. A snowy day becomes a good barometer of your basic take on life, and – for you youngsters who haven’t yet chosen a partner – a chance to take stock of how the significant other handles extreme weather.
From a Pagan perspective, snowfall is an essential component of Nature and should be embraced as such. Nothing causes a summer drought quicker than a winter devoid of snow. The way it melts into the ground nourishes our plant life even better than rain. More than that, it is one aspect of The Wheel – without the hardship of winter, do we really appreciate the spring?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I live in Florida, and I appreciate spring. I don’t need snowstorms in my Wheel.” The truth is that we don’t have to be knee-deep in snow to know that it’s snowing somewhere. We imagine ourselves dealing with the weather in other places, feeling a sort of “internal snow” even as the oranges and strawberries ripen in their fields.
Give me snow, and lots of it. The beauty and the environmental benefits outweigh the inconvenience. If you ask me how I would feel about a life-threatening automobile accident due to the elements, I’ll just say … Hey. It’s snowing out there! Whatever I needed to do today is canceled. Pass the canned soup! Where’s my book?