- Martha Engeman
Snow Day, Slow Day
There is something magical about that first snow day of the season when the ground is covered with fluffy white snow, and baby it really is cold
outside. Growing up in New England, I always welcomed snow days and the opportunity to play with my brothers in the snow—all bundled up in parkas, snow pants, hats and gloves. I never liked the school makeup days—especially when they added classes on Saturday, which interfered with Saturday morning cartoons—but I always enjoyed the snow days themselves.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our relationship to nature. It has always struck me as odd that at the coldest time of year, when the days are short and nature is taking a long winter nap, we humans are often at our busiest preparing for and celebrating the end of the year holidays. Perhaps some of the stress we feel during the holidays is related to the fact that we are pushing against our natural biological rhythms. If we take our cue from nature, winter is a time to hibernate and to rest. This is the time for fires, for cocooning, for intimate gatherings with family and friends, for homemade soup, for warmth, and quiet and reading. It is time to gently plant seeds that will flourish later in the year.
In a culture that is afraid to slow down, the prevailing badge of honor is busyness. How many times have you heard people say that they are busy and then rattle off the 10,000 things that they are doing? Slowing down is associated with lethargy, with laziness with aging. We are desperate to keep up with the hamster wheel of responsibilities we have assumed. By staying in high gear, we may accomplish a lot, but we also miss out on the gift of time: time to sit, be fully present and talk to loved ones; time to dig deep and figure out what we really want to do with our precious life; time to daydream and play in the snow.
So on this snowy day, may we take time to slow down and just be. And may we wake up tomorrow, refreshed and ready for what life holds for us.