Snow is wonderful if
- You don’t have to drive . . .
- . . . or have a vehicle equipped for battle.
- You are a skier.
February 23, 2018
After successfully driving up the slight incline out of my apartment building’s underground parking, I took in the depth of snow already on the ground and surveyed the implacable flakes thickly falling. I immediately placed myself in category “a” above and drove back into the parkade.
I would do my errands on foot.
I like the way snow changes normal routines. All the changes to do with driving are bad, but the other changes are exhilarating or whimsical. Snow completely transforms both the exterior world and one’s interior landscape. Adults can become kids again as they bundle up to play in the snow with their kids or their dogs. Even when they act like responsible adults and shovel their driveways and sidewalks they share an unaccustomed sociability with neighbours and passersby. We are in survival mode. Everyone has a snow story to tell. Even Vancouverites feel like real Canadians!
My day started well. I woke very early, after sleeping deeply. As soon as I had coffee, I was aware of feeling calm and alert at the same time. This would be a good day for editing work.
My energy level was too high to allow me to sit still for long, so I walked to the rec centre to work out in the gym. I felt good enough to tackle kettlebells. Yes, this was one of those rare days of being physically “100%” that don’t happen often as I get older. I put extra effort into my kettlebell swings. My hard breaths and grunting sounds mixed with the music from my iPod Nano.
At the end of my workout I did a Pilates pose that always makes me feel strong, balanced and graceful (even if I’m not!). I stretched up on my tiptoes, my arms high above my head. As I did this, I savoured my feeling of physical harmony and wholeness. My uplifted arms reminded me that a bad shoulder injury inflicted a year ago is finally almost better. My arthritic knee felt fine after doing an easy run on Mundy Park’s lightly snowy trails the day before. So much to be thankful for!
When I left the rec centre it was already snowing quite heavily. I decided to take the long route back to my apartment via the Inlet trail. It’s always a meditative walk, with the calls of the waterfowl and the expansive view of Burrard Inlet. The snow muted the background traffic sounds and enhanced my post-workout trance-like state.
Above all, I love the peacefulness of snow
After I returned from my walk with a few essential food items, I was perfectly content to stay inside for the remainder of the day. For me, snow muffles not only sounds but the often-anxious ramblings of my interior voice. It makes me calm, centred, and introspective, an ideal state of mind for writing and editing work.
At my desk, I look out my study window and the gently falling snow is almost ecstatically hypnotising.
After a couple of hours of work, my clear-minded state has turned to sleepiness. Snow days are perfect for afternoon naps or reading in bed. I recently started a 700-page novel, but then realized I didn’t have the time or eagerness to tackle it. I felt nostalgic for “comfort reading,” which for me means rereading one of my most-loved books. Many of these are books from my childhood or teenaged years.
However, for my snow day rest time I chose Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, a novel with accompanying short stories written in the 1890s and reprinted in 2004 (when I discovered Chopin).
Kate Chopin was a writer far, far ahead of her time. Her stories are shockingly modern in their portrayal of women’s desire for sensuality, creative work, and independence from men. Chopin was a feminist before the term was known: she was a successful professional writer, and when her husband died young, she became a single mother of five children between the ages of three and eleven.
Ironically, my favourite short story of Chopin’s is called “The Storm.” Since Chopin’s works are always set in hot, steamy New Orleans or its environs, her story involves torrential rain, not snow.. Moreover, this story contains a different kind of storm; written in 1897, it was too erotic for Chopin to publish at the time.
Spellbound by the snow outside and Chopin’s story within, I let the gray-white afternoon darken into evening.