Snow Is Often Considered…

…a very beautiful thing, all white, crisp and somewhat romantic for most people. It brightens up the winter season and provides a variety of recreational opportunity. In Lapland, where winter only allows a few hours of twilight and the rest of the day is night, snow makes things lighter and the midwinter days easier to live with.

resize-of-winterforest02.jpgPhoto: Snow is mostly beautiful

But, for some living in a four season area of the world, snow only represents trouble and irritation and many in the U.S. become snowbirds and eliminate the problems snow causes by just leaving for southern areas and wait for it all to go away before returning home. Those first snowflakes mean drudgeries like shoveling snow, scraping icy windshields, icy walks and roads, wet clothing, cabin fever and, worst of all, just being cold!

I’ve seen these people driving their cars home from work in a wet snow flurry. Their knuckles turn white as the crouch down behind the steering wheel. Faces are tight and grey as they literally creep along at a snail’s pace convinced that the slightest false move will throw themselves into a ditch or smack their car into the mile long car parade in front of them. They get home, rushing into the house, and shake themselves off uttering how horrific life is with snow and vowing to never go outside again. They stare out a window, as the snow piles up outside, and contemplate how life during the winter is worse than hell itself. Why do they suffer?

The answer could very well be that these people have never learned to live with snow. They have acquired snow values and misunderstandings from parents or peer group and have never learned how to be friends with snow and, probably very often, they quickly shed this thought off by wimpingly saying…”I don’t wanna learn to be friends with snow”…which, really, is the basic problem. Not wanting to learn!

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The Saami have some 300 words in their language for snow and each represents different conditions of snow or snow conditions in relation to Saami work and life. Dry snow, wet snow, crusty snow, old snow, new snow, new snow on old snow, fresh snow, packed snow, snow on ice, snow with layers of ice, snow that can be walked on, snow that breaks through, drifting snow etc etc.

The best way to learn about snow is to play with it, doing this often. By playing with or in snow, one gains experience with the different types of snow and one can readily and enjoyably adapt to snowy conditions allowing more opportunities in being outdoors.

resize-of-snowsculpturing01-copy.jpgPhoto: Snow sculpturing is one form of playing in snow. Here, snow sculpturing in Kiruna, Sweden

The proper type of clothing, possibly lightweight, wind resistant, water repellent in combination with fleece or wool in different layers, can be chosen and used during outdoor activities. Take layers off when working hard and sweating and put them back on as you cool off. If you get chilly, start moving. Kick holes in the snow to keep feet warm. Move around until you feel comfortable.

Consider snow in all its forms and make games with it. Play! Start today and learn to re-adjust your attitude to this natural phenomenon. You will soon understand that snow has advantages as well as learning how to cope with the stuff and make life a lot easier and more fun.

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