When we were younger, we never truly understood what our grandmother meant when she would say, “It’s been a long, hard winter.”
In a child’s world, a big snowstorm means no school, which would leave us free to go sledding, build igloos in the mounds of snow created by the snow plows, and roam our neighborhood with friends to earn a few dollars shoveling out the driveways of others. And after a long and cold day outside, we’d return home in our wet clothes for our mother to throw into the dryer while she made hot chocolate for us and our siblings.
Ah yes, just the thought of our carefree youth make us envious of our previous life.
But in the adult world, a big snowstorm is nothing but trouble. Commutes to work are longer and dangerous and any travel plans involving the airport are doomed to go awry. A no-school day means that two working parents have to make a choice: Who will stay home with the kids?
And if you’re on the older side, getting about, whether on foot or in a vehicle, is a treacherous and dangerous proposition.
Although we have not had a Nemo-type blast (at least not yet), this winter season already has had its share of potent winter storms that have been rolling in on us likes waves upon the shore. And just like those ocean waves, we are powerless in the face of whatever Mother Nature might throw at us.
On the other hand, there is something about a big storm that is energizing to our spirit. Our long-time, late publisher, Andrew P.Quigley, would act like a kid whenever there was a snowstorm. We recall him driving along the Lynnway one time, with his four boys in the station wagon, and bouncing off the snow drifts that had been piled high along the roadside by the plows. Mr. Quigley was the former Mayor of Chelsea back in the 1950s (he was in his mid-20s at the time) and he loved to talk about how he’d ride in the plow trucks with city workers around the clock, directing them in their efforts to clear the city streets. He knew every tough hill and corner in the city (and also knew that the mayor has to be sure that the streets are clear or he’ll pay for it at the next election).
Although Mr. Quigley’s level of enthusiasm for a winter storm was far greater than the typical person’s, all of us can enjoy what Mother Nature brings us at times like these. As we’re writing this editorial, the snow is falling heavily and the trees are covered in snow — truly a winter wonderland scene that would be the envy of people who never have seen snow.
Taking a walk on a snowy winter evening is calming — the crunch of the snow under our feet, amplified by the quietude around us thanks to the lack of motor vehicles on the roads, is unique to days and nights like these.
And yes, shoveling snow is still a favorite pasttime. Not only is it a great workout, but maintaining a clear driveway and walkway is something we can do to bring a bit of control into our little corner of the world amidst the chaos all around us.
Life is all about making the best of a tough situation. So enjoy the snow and help create memories, whether for yourself or your loved ones, that will last a lifetime.