Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some Observations About Snow

This morning I woke up to discover that it was snowing outside once more.  They were giant, fluffy flakes that drifted from the sky so calmly it felt like the world was moving in slow motion.  Snow always makes me feel calm and in some strange way connected to the past.  A lot has changed in the few thousand years humankind has lived on this blue-green dot.  Our culture has changed, the earth's animals have changed, the earth's plants have changed, even the great big ocean is always changing.  But not snow, snow is one of the few constants in this world.  Sure there are different kinds of snow, and once it lands it never just stays pristine.  But this is how snow has always been.  Since the very first person saw their very first snowflake, snow has always been cold and white and beautiful.
© Jeff Howick 2010 - taken near the beach in Sea Bright, NJ

Some things I have observed about snow:

Snow is not as easy to tunnel through as I had imagined.  Tunneling is never easy business, even when it's through snow.  If someone ever says to you, "lets go make a snow tunnel!", be prepared to get cold, wet and tired.  It's still a worthwhile experience, just don't expect it to be easy.
© Jeff Howick 2010 - Taken after a blizzard in Sea Bright, NJ

Snow makes it easier to see our dirt and harder to hide our trash.  Sometimes I forget how dirty cars are and how much grime they spew out into the world.  But snow will not let me forget this.  As I drive around town and see how dirty and contaminated the snow is next to the road, I'm reminded what my drive around town is contributing to this world.
© Jeff Howick 2010 - captured in a parking lot in Morristown, NJ

Snow makes it easier to stay on path and harder to wander off.  Sometimes unlimited choice is a bad thing, like when I have to buy cereal.  I hate picking out cereal, there are too many varieties.  Do I get the healthy kind?  The cheapest brand?  The one with marshmallows that reminds me of my childhood?  When it snows, there are fewer paths outside.  Snow sometimes makes me feel like I'm in a maze, and I must choose my path wisely.  This is a welcome change from summer, where I often choose to walk on the grass instead of the sidewalk and then usually get distracted. (I read somewhere that grass is healthier for your back.)  I still wander off the path in winter too (Snow is so crunchy!) just less so.
© Jeff Howick 2010 - Taken at Drew University, NJ

Snow is such a simple and powerful presence during winter.  It changes my world completely for a few months, and for that I am grateful.

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