Share this Post
By Chris Egan
There was a moment today, as I bombarded my three year old son with snowballs—who, by the way, couldn’t have been happier about the situation—when I realized snow has magic powers.
Stay with me.
I looked around and, in addition to the surreal feeling you get being surrounded by a sea of bright white snow, I saw how the criss-crossed tracks made by our sleds connected one neighbors yard to ours and ours to another neighbors.
And that’s what snow has always done for me, it’s brought people together as long as I can remember.
In high school, when school was called off, it meant we had a snow party at Sarah’s house. A dozen or more of us, boys and girls would get together, play in the snow all day and then sleep in Sarah’s basement. It was good clean fun and it’s an incredibly fond memory.
People seem to help each other more when it snows. Maybe it seems that way because more people need help, but I feel like you are more likely to see a group of people pushing someone’s car that got stuck in the snow, than you are to see a group or even one person helping the average broken down vehicle when the weather isn’t at play.
In that way, the snow changes people’s mood—often for the better—but it can also change their perception of an area that is usually familiar.
It transforms our neighborhood—even without the tracks made by sleds, the yards and boundaries disappear. There aren’t any fences to begin with, but I realized that normally when I look out into my backyard, I just see a long narrow rectangle separated by invisible lines from each of our neighbors yards. The snow seems to bring our spaces together.
It erases invisible lines—not just with yards, but, again, it has this power with people too.
The neighborhood children come out to play. Young kids play with old kids. Adults play with the children—neighbors together, careening down a hill across yards, across boundaries. The cliques normally formed by age group don’t matter. Everyone just wants the best hill they can find.
It’s community in action. It’s beautiful.
And when little hands get too cold and we have to go inside, there is a more-perfect feeling there too—perhaps we track some magic inside along with the snow. Whether sitting around the fireplace, an electric heater, or clutching a mug of hot chocolate, everyone sits a little closer and spirits are always high. You can truly feel the closeness, emotionally. Your family is a community too.
We feel better when we participate in our communities, our fellowships. That may mean drinking a beer with a neighbor on their front porch, sledding with the neighborhood kids, or eating a meal together. It doesn’t matter—when we give to our community we get at least that much in return.
Would anyone every say no, I don’t want energy, I don’t want to feel good? We have to eat to get the nourishment, satiety, and energy for our bodies, but true vitality includes more than that. What of the mind and the spirit? Without a feeling of belonging to a community, people typically do not thrive. Even introverts like myself need to feel a oneness with other people to be happy.
When magic falls from the sky and invites us to connect with each other, wouldn’t we be foolish to pass on the opportunity?
Like Podcasts? Check out ours at http://ignorantparenting.com
Featured image by Cristina Munteanu via unsplash.