I don’t mind the snow. Precipitation is winter’s prerogative. At best, snow is a beautiful blanket of promise. At worst, it’s a cumbersome inconvenience. What peeves me is what some people choose to do (or not do) with this solid precipitation.
I am tired of those folks who clear only a balance beam’s width worth of walking space in front of their property. They must assume that no one out there needs to navigate the sidewalk with a wheelchair, stroller, or shopping cart—that no parents expect to walk side by side with their child rather than in a single file line. Of course, worse yet are those that don’t shovel at all, so that the sidewalk they’re responsible for becomes either a slushy mess or an obstacle course of frozen footprints and slippery trenches.
I am frightened—with a fear that makes me angry—by the numerous cars I see driving about with only their windshields cleared off. All of their other windows (side and back) remain coated in snow so that the driver literally has to take a tunnel vision approach to the roads. That’s not a blind spot, that’s a blind chasm.
Then there are the people who refrain from clearing their vehicle’s roof of its snow load. That way when they stop short or accelerate, it’s very likely that either a sheet of snow will slide down their windshield (blinding them) or fly off their car’s back to hit, stun, and potentially harm whoever is unfortunate enough to be behind them. They jeopardize the safety of others with their ignorance (or laziness).
I have little patience for snow-provoked bellyaching. I grow more weary of the complaints than the trudging or the shoveling. Enough whining. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, there has been a lot of snow, and we’re likely to get more. But that’s what winter is for. What would you prefer, 80-degree weather and sun-filled days? All this, and more, can be yours. There are plenty of places that never see snow or get cold. There are places that don’t have winter at all. Go. Move. No, really…I insist.
Every year people act surprised when any season decides to express its more extreme temperaments. Even the meteorologists on the news pose the ridiculous question of when this wintry weather will end. Oh, I don’t know…maybe some time during the course of spring!
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t wish for less snow or pine for warmer days. If they feel such thoughts are worth their time, they should go ahead. What I am bothered by are the statements that suggest there’s an injustice to fight as if winter promised to be temperate. How dare it snow again—and on a day when I have to go outside! I am irked by those comments with a distorted perspective. If it gets any colder I will most definitely die! This winter is ruining my life!
Did you have to shovel a lot? There are people who have to shovel more and others who are physically incapable of shoveling at all. Was it frustrating getting to and from work? There are those who work extra (often thankless) hours making your commute safe and possible.
When winter dumps snow en masse and temperatures plummet, I reserve my pity for the homeless and the stray cats—or for anyone who has to live, sleep, or work exposed to the elements. I have no patience for those who martyr themselves on a pyre fueled by inconveniences. This is what winter does. February is no apocalypse.
Do you weep when the leaves drop for autumn? Will spring’s raindrops make your teardrops fall? Do you resent it when summer’s heat makes sweating as easy as breathing? Does it vex you when any day is not perfectly designed to accommodate your climatological proclivities? Do you even have a favorite season? Or do you prefer to complain through the extremes of each one?
Let winter be winter—in all her frigid and snow-covered glory. This is what seasons do; they assert the full range of their mercurial authority. Some winters will be mild and muted, others harsh and violent. You are neither owed nor promised either one. But remember, no matter how cold or severe or snowed over winter gets, spring, summer, and fall will each have their turn too. That’s the wonderful thing about seasons…they’re seasonal, not permanent (even when the opposite feels true).