Snow means different things to different people.
You’ve probably heard the saying that Eskimos have a thousand words for snow; if you Google it, you’ll discover there’s some controversy to this old trope, but even among us Midwesterners, there’s plenty of meaning in those falling white flakes.
“Snowstorm” means school’s out for some of us. It might mean outdoor fun, cocoa or a snowball fight.
“Accumulation” could mean cardio (or heart attack if you’re wielding a shovel and love handles), work (it’s still work, even if you have a snowblower) or money (if you’re a snow plower).
“Snow” means cold temperatures, long winter and misery for some of us. I don’t know if living in Minnesota for nearly four decades inspired these feelings in me or if simply one season of repeated visits from Jack Frost would have done it, but I’m squarely in the club of snow haters.
And in the corner opposite of merry diversion, “falling snow” means four-wheel drive, slippery roads and white-out conditions for people who have to drive in a wintry environment. I can’t escape applying some ominous meaning, however irrational or unconscious, to every significant snowfall since my brother died in a winter weather-related car accident.
Attitude is everything, as it is said, so this March 5th morning, I engaged with the latest deluge of white stuff. Having escaped 17-odd inches of it while in Texas the past two months, I bundled up and enlisted a mindful approach: No judgment, simply observation. Rather than a “bah, humbug” frame of mind, I brandished a camera.
Except for a few passing vehicles, I encountered only two beings at 7 a.m.: A barking dog (I’d be ill-tempered, too, if I had to pee outside in bare feet when it was 30 degrees) and this intrepid soul: