From Theresa Latini
Sometime last week it began to snow here in Holland, MI. It hasn’t stopped. I wasn’t ready for it as usual. Rather naively I had hoped it would melt away like many early snows. Except it’s really not that early. I should know better. I’ve lived in Rochester, NY, in the snow belt where lake-effect snow is the norm, and St. Paul, MN where bitter cold temps accompany the snow. Actually sometimes there it is too cold to snow. I’ve always wanted to live in a place like North Carolina, in no small part, in order to get away from the long months of winter. The farthest south I’ve been able to get, minus one short stint in Virginia, is Princeton, NJ.
To be honest, at the first glimpse of snow, I tend to experience a wave of delight. I chalk this up to well-worn neural pathways developed during childhood. Hours of playing in the snow with siblings, cousins, and neighborhood friends, punctuated by hot chocolate breaks provided by my mother, were great fun. The fact that we practically got soaked to the bone didn’t seem to matter at all. So I was excited this year to introduce my seven-month-old daughter to the snow. I bundled her up in her brown bear bunting, and we pulled her on a sled. She laughed at the dog romping through the white stuff, however she wasn’t ready to make snow angels. That lasted about two seconds. Once I brought her back inside the house, the delight dissipated for me as well.
I headed to work and began to grumble about the weather, joking (sort of) that it was a result of sin’s effect on God’s good creation. By the way, this grumbling seems to be a communal art form in all the snowy, cold places that I’ve lived. Group grumbling creates solidarity. This past week, however, I wasn’t merely participating in this art form. I felt rather cranky about the weather. I realized that if I persist in this mindset, it is going to be a very long five (or six) months. So I thought to myself, there must be something I truly enjoy about this weather, some experience intrinsically related to the snow for which I can be grateful. What was the pathway to gratitude?