Let it Snow—4 Reasons to Love the White Stuff
With New England’s first significant snowfall of the season looming, reactions are a mixed bag, trending toward negative. Me, however? Just don’t judge my slightly off-rhythm snow dance too harshly. Read on for four reasons to celebrate the chilly white stuff like I do.
Cue the Mass Hysteria
I didn’t always need The Weather Channel to tell me when it was going to snow. In the years before Brian and I bought our condo, we lived a few steps away from the world’s busiest Market Basket grocery store.
If you don’t live in New England, that’s probably of no great significance to you. But here? Market Basket is the stuff of legends. Its produce puts Whole Foods to shame, and thanks to a revolutionary business model, it manages to sell brand name products for far less than its closest competitor, while sending life-long rank and file employees into their golden years with million dollar retirement accounts. And thanks to a close-knit relationship with immigrant communities, it offers the widest selection of foods I’ve ever seen in a grocery store.
Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to imagine Market Basket being constantly slammed with customers. On a normal Wednesday—mid-morning—I’d have to ditch my cart at the end of an aisle, then twist, slide, and dive between other shoppers just to grab a jar of bouillon paste.
But when a storm was brewing? Forget about it!
The moment a dusting was forecast, Market Basket would call out a police detail for the parking lot. If I thought there was even the slightest chance of snow, all I’d have to do was look out the front window at the traffic.
Normal flow? No snow. Bumper to bumper? Well. . . You get the point.
Heaven forbid the people of Massachusetts face a snowstorm without seven gallons of milk and ten loaves of bread per person.
I get it. Every couple of years we have a string of storms that dump amazing amounts of snow on the city. The population is dense. The streets are narrow and curving. After a while, there just isn’t anywhere to put it, and the effects can be crippling.
A few years ago some of the snow banks were seven feet high.
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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . .
But those storms are the exception, not the rule.
We don’t live near that Market Basket anymore, but there is snow forecast for tomorrow—up to eight inches—and I can feel it in the air. The impending storm can be witnessed in the stiff, defiant movements and collective scowls of so many of the natives as they move around town today—as though snow in New England is an insult.
Of course, there are some people who share my viewpoint—that snow is the brightest, loveliest part of the winter—but we seem to be a greater and greater minority.
I think if you look at it from my perspective though, you might agree it’s not so bad.
A good snowstorm functions like a handbrake on life. Maybe it’s a product of city living, or maybe it’s just the way I’m wired, but I move a million miles an hour. I speed-walk everywhere, and I’m in a constant rush to get on to the next thing.
And when it snows? Old Man Winter laughs in my face—in all of our faces—and says “Slow down.” Of course, we have to drive and commute slower for safety’s sake, but snow has the unique ability to make us cut the speed on a grander scale as well.
The best example is that rarest of treats—the snow day! Snow days are perhaps the only time of year apart from major holidays when everyone (except essential personnel, sorry guys) is forced to stop what they’d normally do. During these moments, when we’re all stuck inside together in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, we can take stock of what really matters in life.
Light candles. Play Trivial Pursuit. Watch the worst movies you can find on Netflix. And all the while, keep the curtains open so you can see it coming down. Stay warm, reconnect with loved ones, and appreciate the gift of time.
Embrace the Beauty
I love the winter for a lot of reasons. I love not being hot all the time. I love how industrious harsh weather makes me feel. I love the long, long nights. But even I’ll admit, the scenery can be a bit. . .
Unless it snows! Even a dusting can turn a monochrome, dead landscape into a magical wonderland. Snow is clean. Snow is beautiful. It blankets everything and adds a welcome brightness to the darkest time of the year.
Go outside, even for a little while. Look straight up into the sky and you might feel as though you’re flying through space past a million, glittering, tumbling, frozen stars. Catch them on your tongue. Feel the magic and the wonder, and for a moment become a child again, filled with awe.
I dance around in it, and I don’t care who sees.
And when it warms up enough for it to melt just a little? Take a moment to appreciate the delicate varnish of ice that coats so many bare branches and descends into dramatic, glittering icicles from rooftops and ledges.
Pure magic. All around.
Side-note: In case you’ve been wondering where I came up with the name for my publishing company, Stale Orange Press? If you live in a city, go outside while it’s snowing at night and look straight up. I call that color—the color of snow clouds reflecting street lights—stale orange. And it’s the happiest color I know.
Put on your sweatpants. Pour an enormous cup of coffee (and maybe even put some whiskey in it). Pull out the crockpot, empty into it the contents of your freezer, and cover with a can or two of cream-of-mushroom soup.
Basically, get cozy. Grab a blanket and a book. Wrangle a cat and curl up next to your favorite person. Put on some wintery tunes, and descend into snow-induced bliss.
Sure, you can do this pretty much any time, but the army of snowflakes descending out your window just makes the experience. . . Sweeter somehow.
Celebrate the Season
Like so many things in life, winter is fleeting. It might not seem like it at the time, but even as I write this, I know I’m going to blink my eyes and it’ll be spring already. The snow will be a distant memory and you’ll be reading my writing about vernal pools and fiddlehead ferns.
With a few exceptions, the window of time it snows in Eastern Massachusetts is two months—January and February. Bonus storms like this one (or that doozy we got last March) are cause for added celebration, but they’re hardly a regular occurrence.
Yes, you’re going to have to shovel the walk. Yes, you’re going to have to dig your car out. Yes, parking is going to be a nightmare.
But that’s all part of it, and isn’t it worth it for the wonder?
Snow is transformative, and across the spectrum of precipitation types throughout the year, it’s the rarest. Okay, maybe hail is more rare, but no one likes hail.
So why not celebrate it? There are people who live in places where it never snows. There are people who live their whole lives without ever experiencing it. If you’re one of the lucky ones like me, take a moment to appreciate that fact.
I mean, I’m not demanding you listen to Christmas tunes, or anything. . .
Time for a Snow Dance
Alright, I guess you’ve got a pretty good idea of my views on the subject of snow, so I’m going to leave it here. If you’re a snow-hater, hopefully I’ve moved you to hate a little less and rejoice a little more. If not? Go get a boat load of bread and milk.
I’ve heard it helps.
Meanwhile I’ll be here doing my snow dance. Don’t judge too harshly—my soundtrack is Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow, and though it’s a brilliant album, it’s not very easy to dance to.
Share your thoughts! Does the prospect of snow excite or terrify you? Do you look forward to the first snowfall, or the first day at the beach? How do you fill up the time when you’re snowed in? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks as always for reading,