I live where there are seasons. I really do feel sorry for people who don’t. The seasons really do help me mark time, and are a reminder of how little time we really have on this wildly spinning planet. You may sit on the beach in California thinking you have all the time in the world, but remember we are flying through space at 67,000 miles per hour on our yearly journey around the sun, and each day we have to spin at 1000 miles per hour to make it from night to day.
A reminder about the passing of each season is a great thing. I lived in California for two years, making the mistake of moving there in August. It was August there for two years. This winter, we have been blessed with great snow, both the light, powdery kind and the heavy, sticking kind. I’ve shoveled snow already, and at least once before the winter ends, I will have to go skiing.
It took me almost 18 years to ski. My friends took me to the top of the lift and left me. I made it down somehow. I try to ski every year, especially when I am getting really down about the cold and the snow. It changes my attitude about how wonderful snow can be.
When you are falling down the mountain, without falling, but are controlling that fall by using a couple of boards strapped to your feet, with the wind rushing in your face and the snow blowing around you, well, there really is no way to describe the feeling. It’s an exciting, compelling rush of a feeling much like those times you sped down the hill on a sled or a tube. It’s a way of being cold without feeling the cold, of feeling the exhilaration of gravity, speed and control.
So later, when you are shoveling another foot or two of snow, it’s a good reminder of the great reason for snow. And at least once this winter, I will see two or three frozen road workers trying to put some asphalt in a hole in the road, I’ll utter thanks that I get to work in a warm building all day. So why is it so exciting to make yourself cold by sliding down a mountain?
It’s a great reminder of how most of the things in life are relative. It’s a great reminder our attitude usually dictates how we are feeling about any particular moment. We can be strapped to skis and enjoying the ride, or we can be freezing on the way to work in a less than warm car with a soft top. It’s still the same weather, climate, temperature. It’s an arbitrary decision we make when we decide to hate Monday’s, and one of my colleagues has correctly pointed out it’s a miserable way to spend one-fifth of our working years. Bill Cosby has observed that his employees are in pretty bad shape by Monday, and it’s probably a good thing the weekend isn’t longer. Just remember, it really isn’t a Monday, but just an arbitrary name we gave an arbitrary part of what we call a week. We pass from one season to another without even paying attention at times. Don’t let the wonder of winter pass you by without some kind of acknowledgement. We are put here to pay attention.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when we need to pay attention or we will end up doing cart-wheels down the mountain in the snow. Not a metaphor, by the way. And this was back in the day when skis were attached to you by short cords – not designed with snow brakes. This means as I was cart-wheeling down the mountain my skis were flying around my head, banging me on the back and my knees. It was only my second time skiing, and my ski pass was also scraped off my jacket. I went home and lived to ski another day.
But there are days where you are standing on the top of the mountain, looking down into the valley miles below, thinking about the hustle and bustle going on in every office, on every road, in everyday life. The wind is blowing lightly up from the slope below, and some of the loose snow is blowing into your face – normally not a very pleasant thing. But since you are about to hurtle down the mountain at slower speeds than most on the hill, but it still feels very fast to you, it is a time to realize there is more to life than complaining about the snow, or the wind, or the rain, or the heat. Try to enjoy the wintery frostiness – in six months it will be 101 degrees.
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