Friends, today I did something glorious: I played in the snow.
I needed to shovel the steps and sidewalk so the post officer could deliver the mail, because yes, mail is a priority for me. Shoveling while it snows is a bit of a losing game, so we’ll see if the path still exists by the time they come by, but the lung-strengthening exercise was worth it if only for what it inspired.
It led me to collapse on my back and stare up the sky, where stillness could encompass me.
As a child, I would build snow forts from the masses of packing snow my dad plowed and then just lie there. In those moments, it didn’t bother me to be alone. I didn’t care if my friends had gone inside. I didn’t mind if hours passed by. I just relaxed and existed and enjoyed the sky and the snow and the stillness.
I’ve forgotten what it means to be still.
My days are crazy, with work consuming me essentially from the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep. Yes, I’ve overcommitted again…it’s a challenging habit to break. However, as I also face intense mental health struggles, I’m slowly learning self-care, polepole.
Today has been a bonus because it’s a federal holiday, so instead of working at my paid job, I can catch up on my other work and school, potentially rest a bit.
The snow gave me a break from those other responsibilities, a chance to delight again, to revel and feel at peace.
My current lack of snow pants limited how long I could lie outside today, being slowly buried by snow, before the it soaked my jeans and burned my skin. However, I still had to take out the trash and recycling. This chore allowed me to trudge through fluffy, knee-high snow — I didn’t shovel our multi-layered deck or backyard — for multiple trips.
Not willing to go indoors just yet, I cleared off my hammock, where I’d spent hours during the warmer Chicago months. In the isolation of the early pandemic before grad school began, that’s where I passed much of my time.
I’ve gazed up at that piece of sky when it was a cloudless blue and the leaves verdant, then orange and red, then dwindling. Today the sky was white like the earth around me, and the branches were mostly bare except one bush with fiery leaves and the constant evergreens laden with snow.
Eventually the cold seeped through my snow-soaked clothing, so I came inside for some hot chocolate, but I’m typing this from my windowed kitchen so I can still look outside.
A college friend once told me that every time it snows, she’s reminded of God’s love.
In Chicago, it’s been snowing every day for about two weeks. It’s stormed a couple times, amassing more snow than I’ve previously seen in Illinois, and I’m grateful. The rest of the days it’s flurried like I’m in a Hallmark movie and has kept the world looking bright and beautiful.
My conclusion, as a New Englander transplanted in the Midwest? God really does love us!
Go play in the snow today. Dance in the flurries and fall down in a splash of white. Lie there in wonder, and then eventually make yourself some hot chocolate. I promise it’ll be good for your soul.