“I hate to shovel snow!” This is the most commonly expressed phrase from October to May in my neighborhood.
Living in the mountains I certainly do my fair share of snow shoveling, and I can honestly say I don’t mind shoveling snow at all. As a matter of fact I enjoy it.
I have never been one to follow the crowd so it’s no surprise to my friends that I will be an outsider on this controversial issue also.
Many times when my kids were growing up I would tell them that it’s not always the activity itself that makes the time memorable; it’s many times the company you keep and what you can take away from it.
I spent the first 25-ish years of my life in the hot dry desert of Phoenix, Arizona. I spent the next 20-ish in the hot humid climate of central Texas. I much prefer flip-flops and bare shoulders to base layers and muck boots, yet here I am out of the hot climates of my youth and smack dab in the middle of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The weather here, in my opinion, is the best out of the three. I know what all my Arizona and Texas friends are saying right now, “You don’t have to shovel sunshine.” That is true but Colorado is also no slouch when it comes to sunshine. I also know they’re thinking, but the snow. The snow is the extreme. There is extreme weather everywhere, Phoenix has extreme heat, and Texas has extreme… well everything. All the weather in Texas is extreme, thunderstorms, humidity, heat, and ice. Texas weather like everything else in Texas is just bigger.
One of the things about all three of my home states is that there are plenty of outdoor activities for those of us that enjoy being outside. However, there are some days where the weather is so extreme that it’s just better to stay inside, maybe in the air conditioner, maybe in a storm shelter, or maybe cozied up by a fire. But staying in is only fun for a few short hours.
I remember as a kid in Phoenix as soon as the sun dipped down behind the mountains people came out like ants from a flooded ant hole. In Texas as the rain subsided and the sun poked out we would all emerged from our shelter to find the rainbow. But in Colorado the temperature does not become more comfortable at the days end nor does the end of the snowstorm give way to sky gazing. However, the Colorado wintry weather does inspire fun outdoor sports, like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, as a matter of fact the worse the weather, the greater the fun. Usually though before we set out for a day of fun wintry activates we must perform one simple task and that is shoveling the driveway.
Listen, the truth is most days are not filled with these fun sports, they are just regular days and the snow still needs to be removed from the driveway like it or not, I’m just fortunate because I enjoy it.
Remember it’s not the activity it’s the company you keep and what you get out of it. I don’t look at shoveling the snow as a household chore; I see it more as an opportunity.
First, it gives me the opportunity to just be up early and be outside, just me and my dog of course. He loves snow shoveling days. Many times when the weather is extreme and there are no fun winter sports on the agenda, why else would you venture out in 10 degree weather lest for shoveling the snow?
Next, It’s an opportunity to be still and listen. Have you experienced the world right after a snowstorm? The snow acts as an insulator of sound, it is so peaceful. Getting out in the peaceful early morning gives me the opportunity to just listen to what God has in store for me that day. It gives me the opportunity to be alone with my own thoughts, and the dogs. His thoughts are short and predictable, but he’s fun to watch. There are no horns blaring, engines roaring, music blasting, even the enjoyable sounds of children playing is muted in the blanket of snow.
Lastly, it gives me the opportunity to get a good outdoor workout in. Shoveling snow is not an easy task it is hard work. Especially when you have to go back over what the dog covers because he can’t remember where he left his bone. Not only do I get my heart rate up while I’m shoveling, but at the end of the day the muscles in my arms and back remind me that I had started the day with a good workout.
You do know that this piece is not about the joys of shoveling snow.
I suppose we can replace shoveling snow with any other countless chore or activity, the bottom line is this; once we change our perspective from the dread of the task to what is gained from it, like being in nature, a good workout, or enjoying the company, even if the company is just our own thoughts, or a good, faithful, furry companion, we change our life.