Every so often, here in Maine, we receive a “gift” day. Meteorologists exude excitement. Children are off the wall. Then it hits. One of those off-the-cuff, cumbrous-with-snow, ice-crusted storms rushes in overnight, transforming our world into white-out conditions, while creating the ingredients ready for a crystal-prismed fairyland later.

Such a day is to be embraced. If children are home, then snowmen are waiting to be built. Some snowshoeing through the nearest trail beckons. Snow forts, already half-made by drifts, beg to be completed. Then the rounding and stockpiling of snowballs, ready for a fight between two battlements, two groups of friends or even parents against children, awaits! A warm jacket, woolly hat, a stout pair of mittens, accompanied by waterproof boots, and voila, a movie is ready to be played out.

For the more sedate, empty-nesters or career-focused folk, such a day always comes with anticipation, though, perhaps for some, with a tinge of frustration. Yet it is a gift. It can be a time when, against the backdrop of warnings streaming from our televisions, “It is recommended that no one ventures on to the roads today, unless it is an emergency,” we should embrace such an opportunity.

A cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream hugged between chilled hands while reading that book we received for Christmas sounds like a relaxing repast. To break the reading for a spell, a handwritten letter to an elderly relative or friend might create a sense of well-being for us, while stirring a warm glow to the heart of the recipient. The blood pressure has dropped, the endorphin level has risen and a certain peace has infiltrated, replacing the usual turmoil experienced on most days.

We might even go a step further. As we look forward to the year ahead, perhaps we could devote half an hour to writing down all the good things that happened to us the previous year. This in itself can bring us to a state of mindfulness, good for the body and soul. Even being silent brings its own rewards, as we glance out the window at the intrepid chickadees, each seizing only a single sunflower seed, then flitting away to the tree close by.

Surely there is a lesson there to be pondered upon, especially as the greedy blue jay scrambles and wings his way to the suet feeder, bullying slighter-built birds out of the way to gobble down the feast. Such moments of reflection may bring us insight and help us on our journey

The day winds down as snowplows continue to scrape local roads. Children, weary from outdoor pleasure, seem more tired than usual, as do parents. Dishes are now cleared away, and a gentle quietness descends. For many it is an early night, and perhaps a more restful sleep, reflective of the day’s events. Then, refreshed, we are ready for the busyness that surely awaits us on the morrow.


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