Taking a Snow Day
A Quiet Winter Walk
The one great advantage to a cold and snowy winter is the inherent meditative quality it brings to the world. Snow muffles noise, whitewashes detail, simplifies the palette. Cold does the same by curtailing a lot of activity, or changing the way things are done.
Sometimes Steve drags me off my chair for a walk around the block or in the public gardens near where we live. Yes, that’s me in the picture. I did whack him with a snowball shortly afterward. He’s invigorated by the cold, whereas I want to hibernate.
A state of emergency has been declared here; all the roads are officially closed from ice and drifting snow and the wind chill is somewhere around ten or twenty below zero. It’s days like this I am really extra super-duper glad that I work at home. On the other hand, I’m finding it hard to stop wallowing in a state halfway between meditating and daydreaming, lulled by the white noise of the furnace and the purring of the cat.
Can I snap out of it? Should I? Learning to listen to my body has meant not “punching clock” when it comes to work and chores and errands. This has been one of the biggest lessons to learn during this year of simplicity and minimalism. Setting larger goals and deadlines works, but day-in, day-out productivity suffers when the goals don’t allow for the fluctuations in our very human natures. You don’t have to be ill to be still. Sometimes your mind and body know something you don’t.
If you have trouble telling the difference between good stillness and bad stillness, ask yourself some questions:
- Am I sitting here because it just feels so good or because I just can’t find the energy to get up?
- Am I being still because I am avoiding an unpleasant task?
- Will the world come to a halt if I don’t do the unpleasant task?
- Does being still like this make me feel peaceful and good and happy?
- Is sitting here enough? Do I need or want to go back to bed?
That last one is important because if you are coming down with something or not getting enough sleep, that’s a very different thing than just being still for its own sake. If just sitting still is enough, though, it might help to keep you well.
The schools have been cancelled for the day, and my DIL was happy to report she didn’t have to go to work, either. I think I am going to listen to that quiet happy spot in my head and take a Snow Day for myself.