No matter how much of a pain the snow can be (disrupting travel, closing schools (if they weren’t closed already)), it still sparks that childhood joy in me. My heart still leaps when I wake up on a winter’s morning to find that is has snowed over night. And although I no longer rush out to meet my mates for snowball fights and sledging, I still can’t wait to just walk in it. Luckily, we don’t have months of it like they do in other countries. In the UK it’s rather fleeting, so all the more reason to get out there and experience it before it’s gone.
Take a moment for yourself
To me snow means a break from the norm. An opportunity to stop and feel like I’m somewhere different from the mundane, the world of work and bills and queuing up at the supermarket. It’s too dangerous to go cycling or running, and I haven’t even bothered to drive my car over the last few days, I’ve just been walking everywhere. Snow days become a problem when you just try to carry on as normal, instead of just stopping for a day. It’s a good excuse to just have a day of peace.
Contemplating the snow
It’s snowing quite heavily as I write this. I find my gaze is drawn to the snow falling. There is something quite primal sitting in a warm room watching the snow silently fall. I can imagine people being exactly the same way thousands of years ago. There’s not much else to do, other than contemplate the stillness. Although it is undoubtedly less fun if you are cold, scared and hungry. It’s funny how when we are children we want to just rush out and be in the snow, but now I’m quite happy being in a warm shelter just simply watching it.
There’s no mediation like a snow meditation
To me, snow exemplifies the Yin aspect of nature. All is still; there is just the gentle fall of snow. It cushions everything. All noise is dampened; it seems to suck in all the surrounding sounds. It’s like being in a bell-jar. When I’m out walking in snow, it totally dominates my attention. It’s a walking meditation; my attention is 100 percent on where I place my feet for fear of slipping. All I hear is the soft crunch of the snow beneath my feet and my breath as I breathe in the cool, clean air (the air feels cleaner anyway).
Walking in the snow and ice is the ultimately mindfulness. It takes up your entire attention. After walking to and from work in the snow and ice, my hips and lower back are aching. I was obviously walking in an entirely different way in order to avoid slipping over. And, of course, it’s so unusual to walk in the snow (for us in the South anyway), that’s why it feels so novel, I guess.
The Yin and Yang of Snow
Snow exemplifies the Yin and Yang. Yang is energy and action; Yin is stillness and peace. Yet the two cannot exist without each other. I may be just sitting here, being peaceful and contemplative, but my heart still pumps, my blood rushes through my arteries, digestion and peristalsis continues, chemicals and hormones are still triggered. A Snowflake itself is just frozen water molecules bound together. They are cold and immobile, extremely Yin. But not entirely. The whiteness of snow and its lightness is in fact a very Yang trait. And like anything involving water, if you get enough of it together it can be a powerful force. Think of tidal-waves and avalanches; they are unstoppable and deadly. Or the seemly unperceptive flow of glaciers, forming mountain ranges over thousands of years.
Let me know how you feel about snow, even if you don’t enjoy it. And of course, if this weather has isolated you even more, feel free to call me.