By Jim Palmer
The other day, we had our first snow of the season. It came a little later than it usually does, but it arrived. We just got a few inches plus a little wind to make things interesting. This little storm was just an appetizer of what is to come over the next few months.
That first snow always brings out a lot of different reactions from my friends, family and random people stopping by the office. The comments run the gamut. Snow brings out more emotions than any other weather condition.
Some are excited about snow. They have been looking forward to it since the snow and ice melted away last spring. They like the look of snow, the feel of snow and get a little bit excited when they see a blizzard warning moving into the area.
Some have a deep hatred for snow. They look at it as if the start of the most miserable time of the year -- a four-month, cold, jail sentence where we all just have to put our heads down and grind through it. They look at snow in the forecast as impending doom.
Some look at snow as a time for adventure and new opportunities. They think downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. They think snowball fights and fort building with the kids or grandkids. There are not too many activities that require cooperation from Mother Nature to exist, but nearly all of them involve snow.
Some just love the look of snow. They like how it looks on the trees and landscape. Someone once told me that when it snows, his town “got a fresh coat of paint.” By the middle of November, most communities look brown and a little dirty from the sand/salt left from the last snow fall. A good 4-5 inches of snow cleans things up. Of course this year, we might have green grass until New Years, but in a normal year, it is brown this time of year.
Some dislike the snow and cold so much that they leave town -- the snowbirds. But to be fair, not all snowbirds hate winter -- in fact, some don’t really mind it. But they all seem to prefer two summers each year over our current arrangement in Minnesota (one of each season per year).
Some see snow as the start of a quieter time. For grain farmers and seasonal workers, snow could mean a time of slowing down and reviving after a rigorous stretch of hard work. Snow might be the first time some have kicked their feet up since last spring.
Some see snow as a time for hunkering down and cozying up. They see it as the perfect time to find a soft blanket, put on some soft slippers, kick on the fireplace and curl up on the couch for a good book or a sappy holiday movie. We can all do this anytime of the year, but it is so much better when the snow is falling.
Some see snow and think about family. Two of the biggest holidays of the year take place as the temperatures are plummeting and the snow starts falling, and both Thanksgiving and Christmas generally involve lots of family (and food). For those who live further away from family, the start of snow season this might be the only time they see their family. The snow brings comfort and anticipation for these visits.
Some view snow as an obstacle for mobility. If they have stability issues, walking in the snow and ice isn’t a smart option. So snow mean’s “no go.”
Some see snow as a chance for us to enjoy the magic of the season through the eyes of someone else. Some might not care for the white stuff, but nearly 100 percent of us really enjoyed snow when we were kids. It is really fun to see people experience that joy. My boys are getting older now, but I remember the excitement in their eyes (a few years back) after we got 8-10 inches of fresh snow on the ground and had a “snow day.” Last year, we had a foreign exchange student from Mexico who experienced snow for the first time. We took him skiing and he got an up close and personal introduction to the snow everytime he fell (which was plenty). You could see that joy in his eyes, even after a fall.
So what is your perspective on snow? Could you do without? Are you looking forward to a winter full of snow. According to the Farmers Almanac, this winter is expected to be a little colder than average with about average snow fall. That means there should be enough white stuff to do all the things you want to do on it. You just might need an extra layer on to enjoy it.
Bundle up and enjoy the snow show.. and if you view snow as a swear word, I’m sorry. Just hunker down and grind through it. If you are a snow bird, safe travels. We will see you in the spring!
As for me, while I don’t jump for joy when there is snow in the forecast, I like the way it looks and I like some of the activities connected to it. Last year I got out on the cross country skis more than any other year before and I look forward to dusting off the skis when we get a good base of snow on the ground. Of course, this positive approach to snow all goes out the window when my car is stuck in a snowbank or when I’m an hour into shoveling our driveway, but that’s life.