Another snowfall last night. We think it was about fourteen inches this time. Our snow banks are well over six feet tall. Our road is narrowing. My children have literally been sledding down our front lawn because there is such an embankment.
Inside all is warm and cozy. Nothing has changed. Sure, we may have needed to bump up our thermostat a bit more during day and night, but that is a luxury that we could have certainly done without.
Nothing much changes in the modern world during these snowy, winter days.
I began thinking about our modern world and how we can pretty much maintain our lifestyle despite snowstorms, heatwaves, holidays, illness, and such. We get angry when anyone or anything in life tries to slow us down. People literally get angry at the snow.
I had a neighbor approach me a few summers ago on a particularly hot August day. She was concerned that my children might be too hot outside and asked if they would like to come inside with her daughter to watch cable TV in her air-conditioned bedroom. I politely declined and handed my children a cup of water.
It was summer. They were loving life. Riding bikes, getting hot, sweaty and even pink-cheeked is what children are supposed to be doing in the summer. Right?
We have been reading Ollie's Ski Trip over the last two weeks and simply love this book. Elsa Beskow has quickly become one of my favorite authors and illustrators. This is a story about six-year old Ollie who receives his first pair of real skis. He is dreaming of snow and one morning wakes up to find plenty of it. He is so excited that he wants to jump straight out of bed first thing and spend the day skiing. His mother insists that he eat breakfast first and then stuffs two sandwiches into his coat pockets and tells him to be home by dinner. He then sets off alone into the forest and encounters Jack Frost, King Winter, Mrs. Thaw and all sorts of little elves and gnomes. There are images of warmth, knitting, snowball fights, ice castles and many other magical experiences.
This is what I want for my children- a desire to be outdoors despite the temperature, a boldness to 'take on the forest alone', the physical stamina and experience to withstand a full day of activity, a contentment to experience the elements without the need for outside stimulation or media, a natural curiosity about 'what could be' and the actual experience of the simple joys of childhood.
My desire for these simple joys is immense. It shapes our family's life daily. It often seems like a fierce battle to fight- to balance the blessings of modern life with the burdens that it potentially brings- but it is one that I am willing to look straight in the eyes and take on.