Winter needs a new publicist. A social media director. A new marketing scheme. It’s as mysterious and misunderstood as Severus Snape. It’s like the worker who excels at doing the toughest tasks yet never gets Employee Of The Month. Every year many of us complain about the cold, snow and short days of the season. But we need to chill, pun intended, and give winter the respect it deserves.
I’ll admit my bias, I love winter and everything about it (except scraping ice off my windows in the morning- I hate that!). Even so, winter represents a chance for us to follow nature’s example. To let die those things which have run their course. To reflect on ourselves before following spring’s lead of new growth. Whereas trees and bushes seem to grow haphazardly anew each spring, we have the responsibility of pruning ourselves, directing our new branches into the forms we want. This mental pruning takes place in winter, whether we do it during the calendar of winter or as we see fit throughout the year. It makes us question what we’ve done, what are doing, and whether or not those things align with the way we want the world to be. If Old Man Winter sang karaoke, he might choose Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror to represent himself (Google the lyrics if you must).
Modern technology and electric lights have made it more difficult, be we should take advantage of winter’s long nights to do less work. Not in the spirit of laziness or being a slacker, but in the spirit of reflection, life/work balance, and maintaining good relationships with those we care about. Long nights are nature’s way of telling us to get some rest. Take a break. Spend time with people we wish we wouldn’t have neglected. There’s something comforting about coming from the cold into a warm house of family and friends, that an air-conditioned room on a hot day just doesn’t match. When was the last time you saw people gathered by the air vent or window AC unit as they would naturally do by a glowing fireplace?
With snow, winter has the magical power to change the world in just a few hours, even if the change is only temporary. Schools let out early, basic travel routes become unsure, and events are cancelled. A mundane day becomes more exciting (for better or worse) and a useless, grassy hill becomes a major attraction for sledding and snowboarding fans.
Yeah I know. A lot of people don’t like shoveling snow, traveling dangerously or having their schedules re-arranged. I get that. But let’s not miss what snow can tell us about ourselves. Snow has the power to make the world new. And, when we apply ourselves the right way, we do too. And we need to. Our world is full of serious problems that we’re running out of time to solve. Snow doesn’t suffer from our lack of focus or disunity when it re-makes the landscape. It’s just a million individuals working together to reshape what was.
So yeah, I love winter. It represents a chance for us to call timeout, reflect, reevaluate, replan and renew both as individuals and as a human society. We’re part of nature and we should follow its lead. And if the call of reflection, growth and outdoor snow sports don’t make you a fan of the season, winter also hosts biggest holiday of the year! Not bad, eh?