ANN BAILEY: There is an upside to winterAlthough I generally start out winter with a positive attitude, by late January, I find myself getting discouraged. Despite my best intentions to be upbeat, the frigid cold, seemingly endless shoveling and sharp winds gets me down.
Although I generally start out winter with a positive attitude, by late January, I find myself getting discouraged. Despite my best intentions to be upbeat, the frigid cold, seemingly endless shoveling and sharp winds gets me down.
But fortunately, this past week, my daughter, Ellen, 7, had words of wisdom that gave me a new — and better — perspective on things. Ellen, her brothers, Brendan and Thomas, and dad, Brian, and I were heading to my mom’s to plow her driveway and shovel the snow off of her back porch roof, and I was sighing, thinking to myself that it seemed like there was never an end to the work involved with the white stuff.
My frustration must have been apparent because Ellen said, “Mom, I know you don’t like it when it snows more, but I do because it gives me more snow to play in.” I replied that it wasn’t only the problems the snow created now that I didn’t like, that it also melted and would cause wet conditions in the spring.
“But Mom, that just gives me more puddles to splash in and mud for fights with Brendan and Thomas,” Ellen replied.
It was an “out of the mouth of babes,” moment for me, and I decided that instead of continuing on my negative track, I would try to have a more cheerful outlook toward winter. I figured one of the ways to do that is to think about some of the things I like about the season. I was surprised that it didn’t take long to make a pretty good list.
Here are a few of the things on my like list:
&bull: Listening to the crunch of snow underfoot when it’s really cold.
&bull: The whistling sound the horses make through their frosty noses as they buck and rear, scattering the snow as they play in their pasture.
• The way the snow sparkles like diamonds in the moonlight and shimmers like fragments of crystal in the sunlight.
• The sundogs that are unique to our climate. Only people who live in the Northland get treated to the sight of “rainbows” in the winter.
&bull: The change in the landscape’s appearance. The snow covers all of the harsh angles and gives everything a soft, gentle look.
• White caps of snow on green evergreen trees.
• The impetus to bake and cook for my family that cold, snowy days give me. Last weekend, after I gave the oven a long work-out, Ellen said, happily, “Mom, we really have a lot of treats to eat now.”
• The built-in exercise routine that winter provides me so I can work off the calories eating the things I make. Walking through the deep snow to feed our horses or play with our dogs gives me a good cardio workout and shoveling helps keep my arm muscles in shape for summer’s work.
• The opportunity to have guilt-free rest. On Sundays, when all the shoveling is done, the animals are fed and the cookie jar is full, I can take an hour’s nap during the day without feeling like there’s something else I should be doing.
• The good feeling I have after I go out in the pre-dawn darkness and brave the cold to let the dogs out and feed them, feed the horses and feed the birds (and the squirrels and rabbits that eat the seeds that drop on the ground). It’s satisfying for me to know that all of ours and some of nature’s critters are well-cared for.
Creating the list might not make winter easier to embrace when it’s at its nastiest, but I think it will make it easier to endure. I suggest you try it. If it doesn’t work, take heart in the fact that spring is getting closer, day by day. The longer days are evidence that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.