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Falling Back in Love with Snow

Over the years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with snow.   Despite the fact that I’ve spent most of my life in New England, I’ve never been a winter sports person. I don’t ski, skate, or snowboard.  My feelings about snow were never driven by how much powder dropped on whichever mountain.  Still, my childhood memories of snow are overwhelmingly positive.

I have vivid memories of whizzing down the hill next to my house when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I’d awkwardly trudge back up the hill with my sturdy ol’ Flexible Flyer.  The sound of kids shouting and laughing filled the cold air.  Every once in a while two sleds would collide or some unfortunate kid would fly off into the bushes.  Then there was the inevitable wailing followed by parents yelling “You’re fine! Come on—get up!” If you were smart, you’d get up and stop your fussing. The alternative was having to go home and miss all the fun.

When I look back, I’m amazed at how long we could endure the cold.  Remember, this was before the days of microfleece anything. Most of us had knit mittens that would end up soaked in a matter of minutes. I can still remember the smell of wet yarn. The memory makes my teeth itch. But it was worth it.  Whether I ventured out into the cold with my sled or my silver saucer, I was guaranteed a good time.

When we moved to Massachusetts, I was just entering fourth grade.  Our new house had a perfectly flat backyard.  There wasn’t a hill in sight.  But I still managed to have fun. When winter came, my friends and I built forts and snowmen.  We’d climb snowbanks and slide down.  That was until the older kids in the neighborhood told us a horror story about “some kid in the next town” who sank into a snowbank got stuck, and died in the cold.  “They didn’t find him until the snow melted.” That was the end of snowbank climbing for me.

In middle school and high school, snow in the forecast often meant a snow day.  If there was no school a siren would go off around 6:00 AM.  Doesn’t get more small-town than that.   My sister and I would jump up and down, fists pumping.  My Mom looked pissed.  Except for the Blizzard of ’78, I don’t remember her ever staying home from work.  “Make sure you clean your room,” she’d say before she left.  Sure, Mom.

By the time I was a senior in high school, snow didn’t have the same appeal and often ruined weekend plans—not because my friends and I were afraid to drive in the snow—we were willing to drive in a blizzard if it meant we got to hang out with our friend in the next town—but because our parents wouldn’t let us borrow the car.  I can remember many a Friday night being stuck in my room, looking at the awesome 80s outfit I was supposed to wear that night.  Life wasn’t fair.

Once I became an adult and had my own car and apartment, snow became a huge drag.  Winter meant endless shoveling, scraping, and digging out my car.  Even after I had a garage, there were still the white-knuckled commutes to work to contend with.  Then, after a long day at work, I’d trudge through the company parking lot to clean off my car in the dark. As an added bonus I’d often have to shovel the mound of snow behind the car left by the plow.  Now I knew why my mother was so pissed.  For years I dreaded the winter months.

But a few years ago, when I started working for myself, my relationship with snow once again changed. I started seeing it with fresh eyes.

The morning after a big snowfall has a magical quality—especially in the early morning when the sun is just starting to peek through the trees. There’s nothing but stillness.  You can actually hear the stillness.

Little by little the birds come out, leaving mini letter Vs in the snow as they hop around. There’s something so comforting about holding a mug of something warm in your hands while looking out at snow-capped trees and yards sparkling in the sunshine.

When I shovel my back steps and a little path to the birdfeeder, it doesn’t feel like a punishment.  Even at night, I don’t mind it.  The snowy air smells delicious and breathing in the cold air is invigorating.  True, I’m grateful to have someone plow my driveway. I’m grateful I don’t have to drive to work. I can once again appreciate the beauty of snow.  And as I write this, I’m missing my Flexible Flyer and the memory of speeding down that little hill, wishing the day would never end.

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Carol Campos
Carol Camposhttps://carolelizabethco.com/
Like many, I struggled for years wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I had been working in the corporate world for over 20 years, most recently in a leadership role with a Fortune 5 company. Although I was consistently recognized and promoted throughout my career, I somehow knew that I was meant to do something different. I felt stuck in a life that didn’t fit, yet I had created it. What was my purpose? I had no idea. Finally, I left my corporate job and made the leap into the unknown. After doing months of self-discovery work (actually, play!), reconnecting to my higher wisdom, and re-remembering who I was at my core, I realized I didn’t have to fix myself. I also realized that I didn’t have to worry about “finding my purpose.” What I found was that I’m multi-passionate and didn’t want to be boxed into one thing. I didn’t HAVE to be boxed into one thing. I started a podcast and a blog where I explored the human experience—including my own beautiful, messy, but perfect road. This blog later became my column on BizCatalyst 360°. I became a mentor and a wayshower for others. I became a consultant to help improve company culture and improve client relationships. These are things I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. But as often is the case, the Universe had an even bigger plan for me than I had for myself. My Soul knew what I would be doing long before I did, and I’m grateful that I followed the Divine map that was laid out before me! I love traveling, exploring new cultures, being in nature, and helping people on their own paths. I hold a B.A. in Communications from Hofstra University. I live in Massachusetts with my rambunctious and hilarious cats, Petey, and Emmett.

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10 CONVERSATIONS

  1. I am a snow girl. Probably because Denmark doesn’t have snow very often so I don’t associate it as much with shoveling as with fun.
    I love to ski, cross country, down hill, the mountains, the sun, the fingers thawing after a long day and it hurts like the dickens in all extremities, the body that says thank you for being used (and “wtf do you think you are doing” once in a while.)

    But I admit that my 3-4-5-10 year old self was not quite as enthusiastic in the afternoon when my parents had dragged us out on a looooooong march around a lake or over a mountain that was a bit to steep or in other ways worn me out to the bone. When you are the youngest, neither legs nor skies always cooperate. Fortunately, my father always carried a piece of chocolate in his outer pocket to boost morale.

    • Oh yes–being out in the snow whether skiing or hiking (or any activity for that matter) makes you painfully aware of muscles you never knew you had! And of course, a piece of chocolate works at this age too. 🙂 Thanks so much for taking the time to read my essay, Charlotte!

  2. My goodness, Carol — you and I met and knew we were/are aligned along many paths, but who knew this about snow when we were kids?

    Yup, me too. All the way, even though I remember bouncing on a sled and seriously injuring my tailbone … hurt like a bandit for weeks! Wasn’t fun, but yes! Sledding, building snowmen, sticking my tongue out to catch the flakes …

    And like you, not loving it once I got to be a teenager for all the reasons.

    But yes again — seeing it now, safe in my tiny house on the bay — seeing the sparkle on the water, the trees, even the cars … yes. Gorgeous!

  3. Dear Carol,

    On reading your inspiring and essay, my imagination I joined you as a kid experiencing great fun in the snow. You have brought back such fond memories. And yes, when you have an auto, it can be challenging unless it is a genuine American Jeep! Anything is possible! I love your descriptions which I could call vivid even dramatic, but those of use brought up to run outside as soon as a layer of snow settles on the ground and as you say, you can hear the silence as the snow forms a blanket. Wonderful description Carol.

  4. Ah, I hear you in this love/hate relationship with snow and thrilled you found your way back to the awe and wonder of a fresh new snowfall. Seems like you discovered a place of acceptance rather than struggle-which almost always feels so much better! I enjoyed this essay-so much I could relate to-And I definitely remember the Blizzard of ’78! Now that’s a blast with the past!! LOL! Thank you for this delightful stomp and romp through the snow-to landing back in love with the white stuff!

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Laura! I’m so glad I found my way back to the awe and wonder too! I especially enjoy early morning walks (as long as it’s not windy–that’s a deal breaker–LOL!).

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