“Be content with what you are, and wish not change; nor dread your last day, nor long for it.”

— Marcus Aurelius

When I read this today, I thought, ‘and be content with where you are, too.”

It’s in the air today.  If you take a breath with your mouth open, you can taste the snow.  It’s coming.  As the parent of a child still in school, I feel mixed emotions about the storm that will soon begin.  With two snow days planned for in the school calendar and four already used, another storm has me wondering if our kids will be in school until July.  For my ninth-grader, this is the first time she has comprehensive midterm exams.  They begin today, although they were scheduled to start on Monday — the snow has postponed them twice.  As I look at the gray-white sky and feel the snow beginning to form high in the clouds, all I can think of is another disruption to exams.  It really disturbs the studying schedule when the timeline keeps changing.  Another cancellation tomorrow will move the final day of testing to Monday, meaning that the dread of Math will linger through the weekend we thought would be a celebration of completion.  Between driving laps from home to school and back for exams and basketball practice, I will be venturing out on potentially slick roads.  This is not my idea of fun.  I turn and glance out the window once again, and a feeling of dread overtakes me.  Snow.

It’s in the air today.  If you take a breath with your mouth open, you can taste the snow.  It’s coming.  As the sun rises, veiled by the heavy clouds, I can see that the sky is already the color of snow.  I wonder, if I could fly, would I find it swirling right now in the gray and white clouds, just waiting for them to overflow and spill it to the earth?  Last week’s snow still coats the earth, preserved by the arctic chill that blew through town.  The neatly-shoveled paths criss-cross on the sidewalks and the streets.  I love the feeling I get when the shoveling is done and I know we won’t be snowbound.  I love to walk the paths through snow and let the cold and colorless world push me inward.  Walking in winter is great for deep thinking once the paths have been relieved of the depth of snow that makes walking a challenge.  This morning, the paths are lined with piles of snow that have taken on a tinge of gray as traffic has stirred up dust and cinders.  I look to the sky and anticipate the fresh, white flakes that soon will bury the gray and turn my world a glistening white.  Every footprint will be filled.  Every trace of animal tracks will disappear.  I love the way the whole world turns fresh and clean and new when snow falls.  I love the way it calls me away from living in town to memories of my rural childhood.  When soft snow muffles the sounds of the street, I can wander in memory to days when the fields were white and silent all around.  There is something magical in the anticipation of a snowstorm.

I wanted to write today about snow because its impending arrival made me aware of the impact that our attitude can have on the way we live our lives.  Today I have a choice.  I can live in dread of the snow or I can anticipate its arrival.  I am sure there will be times today for both feelings to creep into my mind.  Since I cannot wish the snow away, I think I will choose to enjoy its arrival and take in all the beauty it brings to my world.  Why would anyone want to waste a day of magic on feelings of dread?