Every US state has its own quaint customs. In Massachusetts, the residents complain about the weather, especially the snow. Constantly. Why? According to a legend I just invented, the Mayflower Compact commanded every ship passenger, each of their descendants, and all future inhabitants of the Commonwealth to gripe about the temperature and precipitation at least weekly. The penalties for noncompliance were stiff, so stiff that we still comply without hesitation.
What was the punishment?
You’ve heard of the Salem Witch Trials, right?
Yet even though we all grumble and whine about it, this climate can be stunning, so lovely that as I watch it, joy can burst within me without warning. An example? The first December snowstorm.
It brings hope when we most need it. Let’s face it, November is rough. The red and yellow leaves turned brown and fell long ago. We are surrounded by sullen gray skies, bare gray tree limbs, and angry gray moods. Elections continue to be contentious. Cold temperatures drove us indoors. The pandemic transformed the most social of us into hermits. Twilight starts at 4:30. The only month that matches it in moroseness is February, and at least that’s only 28 days long.
In contrast, December snow turns November gloom into a memory. The first beautiful flakes float through the air and transform the dead lawn into a glittering, magical world. Even the overcast sky can’t dull it, and tomorrow’s rays of sunshine will turn it into shimmering diamonds.
On a personal note, my outdoor obligations also vanish as completely as the brown grass. The branch that fell in the last high wind? Too late to move it now. Missed pruning and stray weeds will lie buried until spring. Losing a clutch of responsibilities in less than an hour is breathtakingly blissful.
I’ll take a moment, then, to savor this weather and to be grateful for a warm house, a family to share it with, and a hot cup of tea. Soon enough, the dainty flakes will turn to 100-pound-per-shovelful slush or—even worse—ice. My husband will have to disentomb the driveway, and I will try to rake the roof without breaking the nearest window. The odds are good that we’ll lose power, probably while dinner is cooking. But I’ll relish this beauty and peace while it lasts.
I think that I deserve it after the year we’ve had.