In my neck of the woods, there has been snow on the ground for a solid two weeks. If I was somewhere above the Mason-Dixon line, perhaps this wouldn't be a surprise. Now, I don't speak for all Southerners when I say this. But a large part of why I enjoy living where I do is the mild winters. We typically just have rainy days in the 40s, but rarely does it turn into a winter wonderland for weeks at a time.
At first, I thought that I would snap with all the idle time I had on my hands. I can only stand so much Netflix and vending machine food. Although there was enough of a thaw at the tail end of last week that I got to go out into the world for a morsel of reality, I was still irritated when I woke up to the campus alert system telling us that school would be cancelled, yet again, this past Tuesday. We have syllabi to move through and lives to lead. A cursory glance through my blinds led me to harrumph back into sleeping position and at least try to get some rest.
When I woke up a few hours later, a force drew me outside into the crystalline landscape. I hate to be "that guy", but I am not exactly one for snow. All I can see in my mind's eye is the slush on the side of the roads that seems to defy laws of nature by sticking around even when the temperatures climb into the 50s. I have a get up and get on with it mentality, but I do not have the car nor the will to attempt to drive anywhere in this type of precipitation. My adventurous side blooms with the spring flowers. And yet, the two hours I spent outside taking these pictures changed my mindset for the better.
Even in the slow moving, laid back southern states, I think we glorify having a packed schedule and a long to-do list. Part of this comes with passion: when you are in love with your line of work, it can overtake everything else. But at what point does this become unhealthy? Our culture is so fast paced that a small, necessary pause in the "go-go-go!" lifestyle isn't seen as a break. It's seen as an inconvenience. We are bombarded with reminders that we need to be doing all the time and rarely does this allow for a moment of quiet solitude.
Taking a walk with nothing but a camera in hand was my personal cure to the busy affliction. I couldn't hear anything but my own footsteps, sinking softly into the kind of snow that is more like a fine powder than anything water based. I could convince myself, for a bit, that I was somewhere far more remote than the college woods. There is a quiet, subtle beauty when everything is white. It begs you to pay attention to details, to get your eyes off of a screen. Perhaps some enjoy winter's grip by sledding with friends and being rambunctious, things that are just as valuable. But for me the solution to the problem of feeling cramped up and somewhat spiritless is, as it has been so often before, to spend some quality alone time with nature.