Here in Idaho the early signs of spring are beginning to pop up all around us as we experience the first week of March. The early spring flowers are beginning to sprout and the daylight is getting longer. Yet, a month ago I was complaining about the lack of snow and winter we were having. My birthday is in February, and for me my birthday just isn’t my birthday without at least a little bit of snow. Growing up I don’t even know the number of times I had sledding birthday parties even into my teens. And in college at least one year we even had a snow day on my birthday so my friends and I went sledding! Needless to say, I enjoy snow and was bemoaning our lack of snow in Idaho this winter. Winters here in Idaho (at least in my short experience) have more sunshine than winters in the Midwest or the Northeast, and even still this winter was feeling gloomy for me without snow in Boise. Last year we had a fairly mild winter as well and I didn’t care this much that we didn’t have snow. So why was I feeling so lost without snow this year? As I have thought about this I have realized, like with many things, it comes down to perspective.
Last winter I was on crutches from my knee surgery in early January, so I was happy not to have to handle crutches in the snow too much. I was content to see the snow on the mountains but not to have to deal with it too much down here in the valley. Based on where I was at and the circumstances around me snow was something nice to look at from afar, but okay not to have to deal with in day to day activities.
This winter I am sure some of my snow craving was because I got a good dose of snow when I got to visit my family in New York over the Holidays. They got 15 inches of snow the day I arrived and I got to do almost 200 miles of snowmobiling while I was there, not to mention sledding and playing in the snow. Being out in the snow was how I got to see extended family members that hadn’t seen in a year, some who I didn’t know if I would see while I was home. When we did finally get a good snow here in Boise I literally went and flopped in the snow (I am not sure I can explain in words the feeling I get most years in the middle of winter, feeling the need of a good flop into a snowbank that is so therapeutic) I was so happy. I also got to see some friends and play in the snow with them and their kiddos. Even in my not so well planned adventure to a Park n’ Ski area where my car got stuck, the snow provided connection with a complete stranger who helped me get un stuck. In this year of isolation and disconnection, snow
has provided me with a place of connection and community. Snow gives us a reason to go out into the cold and have some fun. Snow is a place that allows us to just be.
Now since that “big” snow has come and gone, we have had occasional flurries in the air, and I have happened to be outside and catch some of these moments, including on my birthday. And though that snow didn’t accumulate, it still brought a smile to my face. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a little blessing. Getting to have snow to play in made even just the little flakes mean more. I know not everyone feels this way. Many in the places that have harsher winters, miss the sunshine and warmer temperatures through the winter, and I have had those feelings some winters too. That is why perspective is an interesting thing. The same things can have different meanings to us in different moments. And sometimes it is only upon reflection that we can see the deeper meaning in what we are feeling. At times snow can be a nuisance and hassle to deal with, and at other times it can bring connection and joy to our lives.
May we take time to reflect and see the ways the sacred is speaking to us in this season of our lives.