The benefits of snow are many ~ it transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland, a place of purity and beauty; somehow a carpet of snow muffles sound, dulling loud noises to a more tolerable volume; and, with all the opportunities for snowballs, building snowmen/women/creatures and sledging, it takes many of us back to a childhood of playful fun. Each of these examples provides joyful transformations, no matter how transitory or fleeting in nature.
But in my view one of the best outcomes is what might be termed the ‘benefits of slow’. Snow can stop us in our tracks as we pause to consider in awe and wonderment the landscape around us, the landscape we see everyday but ‘see’ differently (or perhaps for the first time?) in the snow. It can literally stop people in their tracks when driving in snowy conditions, and also makes walking outside both more joyous and harder work simultaneously! And when car driving is no longer considered safe by the majority, it slows life right down. People consider whether or not they really need to travel in to work, town and so on.
These circumstances can reconnect us with the basics in life – in the midst of all the charging about in our day-to-day lives we often miss what is really important in life, and the distinction between what is vital and what is not, i.e. the window dressing in our lives. People often become neighbours once again, assisting those in their communities by checking in on the vulnerable, buying them food, clearing paths together and so on. Stories were reported of the efforts made to assist those in caring for others, from a nurse walking 9 miles through snow to complete a shift at the hospital, to others arriving by tractor to visit their dependent elders, to 4 x 4 owners providing taxi services to front-line hospital staff. That is, the important stuff mattered most in the slow/snow, and worries about buying the right or best Christmas presents or whether the table runner was ok for the big day simply melted away (excuse the pun). Well, at least it did in our household (although we don’t even own a table ‘runner’ so worrying about whether or not it would be ok is a little academic!).
We had a simple Christmas and it was so much the better for it ~ now starting the new year I feel rested and relaxed, far more so in more years than I can remember. Hopefully you also felt the benefits – rather than the burdens of the snow – and I wish you all the very best for the coming year, may it be a happy and joyous one.