the case for snow

Snow day on Lake Mendota. Madison, WI I’m a recovering anti-snow troll. I used to hate it, loathe it – even cry about it. But why?  I always enjoyed it as a kid (hello, snow days spent building snow forts bundled up in marshmallow puffy coats). I even loved it in college (hello, snow days spent indoors under marshmallow puffy comforters). Somewhere after college I changed teams – perhaps because snow days no longer existed, at least not like they used to. The trend toward disenchantment was encouraged. “Snow sucks! It’s so wet and cold!” Oh, boo-hoo. Misery loves company. (Guilty of loving the company and being the company).

The other night I took to Instagram, #juno, and scrolled through endless pictures of New York urbanites stocking up on bread and water gourmet cheese, wine and beer in full preparedness for their impending doom. They were cozy with friends. They were running through the seemingly apocalyptic empty streets taking artsy pictures of snow covered steps leading to the bright red doors of brownstones. In a blizzard. Majestic, urban camaraderie. I was jealous. 

It’s that spirit of camaraderie that eventually won me back over to Team Snow. When we got dumped on in Chicago back in 2011, our neighbor shoveled a path leading directly to the corner coffee shop where everyone – and I mean everyone – from the block met to laugh and conjure up ideas to unbury our cars…step 1: find them. It was a series of little moments like this that made snow seem whimsical again. Similar to hygge, my cold climate comrades, we need to adopt a snow day mentality all winter long. We need to encourage the wonderment, the beauty and the oh-so-cool exclusivity of Team Snow. And trolls: stop ruining it for those in recovery. Here is my personal 5-step, pro-snow program:

1. Wear a coat – this seems obvious. Wear the right kind of coat – aha! Wool pea coats: just say no. Stylish for going out? Up for debate but beside the point. Warm, waterproof and wind resistant? You’re fooling yourself and you’ll never be able to begin to enjoy the snow and winter rocking one of those. Wear something actually engineered for snowy weather! I basically walk around in a sleeping bag. When I first got my coat, it wasn’t the most well received by my peers. They thought I went overboard. They told me I wasn’t climbing Mt. Everest. They said all of this until they needed to run out for a coffee break and begged me to let them borrow old faithful. (Patagonia “Downtown Loft Parka”)

2. Get outside and play – you can’t be too serious when it comes to snow. Find a winter sport you love. Run outside! I am blown away at the number of winter runners here in Madison. The nod and smile when you pass each other on the lakeshore means more in the snow – we’re in this together…we’re sort of rockstars.  Or simply go on a walk for coffee to experience the crunching beneath your feet and the sparkling wonderland around you.

3. Enjoy the silence – and the calmness. There’s a certain gentle quietness to snowy days that is irresistible, luring us to introspection. Embrace this calmness and discover something new about yourself. Pause. Reflect. Grow.

4. Find the beauty – it’s everywhere. Sure, on the surface it looks gray, gloomy and sad, but look closer. There truly is beauty in the “sadness.” It’s in the magical serenity of nature frozen in place, the wrought iron fences washed in white and the monochrome, minimalist silhouettes of skylines and landscapes.

5. Be proud.  Don’t give into team anti-snow. Wear your colors loud and proud. Positivity is contagious.  Embrace it. You don’t need to shut down your life because of a dusting of snow. You were born to endure this kind of weather (yeah, that’s a song by First Aid Kit).

Seasons change so fast, as does life. Don’t miss the beauty of snow and winter because you are longing for the future. Summer will be here soon with her warm rays, long nights and non-stop activities. For now, be at peace and be patient in the stillness. Be in the moment. You’ll enjoy summer all the more. Welcome to the Team.

Happy snow days!

For winter inspiration IG #winimal #vscowinter #themidwestival 

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