The first slight snow that kisses our wind-reddened cheeks each winter carries the same message that frosts have conveyed since time immemorial. This message is dualistic in character; on one hand, winter’s growing chill compels us to rest and restore ourselves indoors, and on the other, snow, the most wondrous attribute of the winter season, beckons us outside to play and to reflect. Upon indulging this natural impulse, we emerge from our homes into the quietude created by a mantle of snow that blankets the ground, and find a scene painted in broad strokes of crystalline whiteness, embellished with bright highlights of silver and blue. The stillness envelopes us as the magical quality of the surreal landscape awakens profound feelings of peace within our souls.
Mother Nature’s perfect artistry is seldom more evident than in the magnificently balanced structure of the lovely and delicate six-sided flakes that cascade from the heavens. To walk through falling snow is to immerse one’s self in life’s never-ending rhythms. We understand and accept that the snow beneath our feet, while tangible and powerful, is only one aspect of a larger cycle of world-altering weather events. The fluffy snowflake that floats to earth and joins its siblings brings the transient joy of leisurely days off and smiling snowmen, yet will one day experience a transformation in purpose. Without hesitation, as the weather grows warmer, each beautiful flake melts and becomes one with trickling rivulets, singing streams, and swiftly running rivers. Whereas, at the start of its existence, the snow serves to drape the world in beauty, it ends its season on earth by nourishing the land.
A Zen proverb states that no snowflake ever falls in the wrong spot. Whether you celebrate the snow by tossing snowballs, or losing yourself in the meditative serenity of the silently drifting flakes, take a moment to contemplate how much like the snow each of us is. We are born pure, but later take on the footprints of those we encounter. Akin to each snowflake, we are unique, and yet we function as part of a larger whole—forever in the right spot at the right time. And like the snow itself, our lives and the roles we play are impermanent, yet imminently valuable.