December 2021 Back Page – Let it Snow

Posted: December 1, 2021

Although elders are expected to be the source for wise words, we often hear wisdom from any number of sources. So often these days proverbs and platitudes come from the inexhaustible well of truth and fiction provided by the internet. My daughter shared some words the other day that rang true, “You can choose to be unhappy about having a lot of snow, you will be a lot less happy and you will have the same amount of snow.”

I have always liked snow but I have to admit that as I age the thrill of a good snowstorm has been tempered by the added work and safety concerns that come with feet of snow. I grew up on the east coast where I anticipated winter storms with glee, hoping for school closures and fantastic conditions on the sledding hill. Sometimes we would be blessed with a blanket of fresh snow, but all too soon the snow would melt too fast. When I moved to Alaska nearly 30 years ago at least part of the reasoning was, “Well, at least the snow should last.”

Just as any outsider learns after a few years in Alaska the cold and even more so the darkness can be real challenges to surviving winters with your sanity intact. Snow, the bane of many winter-hating sour mouths, actually makes winter better.

There is nothing quite so dark as a wet fall evening after the sun has left the sky and before the snow has come. Snow blankets the earth with a reflective white coat that makes the meager light from the stars and moon enough to wander through the woods or just down the street. Snow can cover the brush and fill in the drainages to allow travel over many miles that would be impassable during the summer melt. Snow can be packed into trails and built into structures. The advantage of snow for humans in the north is obvious, even without getting into the benefits of stored moisture and insulative qualities that nurture and protect our hardy plants.

The saying my daughter shared can be a metaphor for so much of life. Winter is a time for visiting. A time for reflection and celebration with the ones we love. As we share our time with friends and family choose to see the good. Choose “happy” and share the benefit of how to deal with all that life brings. Dealing with what life brings is not without work but sharing the joys and lessons of life with our loved ones helps us all to live a little better, whatever the weather. I wish you all a happy, (and snowy) holiday season.

Happy Holidays,
Bill Stamm