I am a snowflake

Right now I’m watching a snow storm blow and swirl and gust outside my window, a day later than expected, but still here, still covering the frozen ground in white, filling the air, turning everything monochromatic.

And it is beautiful.

Rose of Sharon seed pods covered in snow in my back yard.

Rose of Sharon seed pods in my back yard.

Conservatives like to call people like me (young, liberal, well-educated) “snowflakes,” because we are “overly sensitive,” “can’t take criticism,” are “ sore losers,” and and and.

Once I went to a party dressed as One Hundred Years of Winter, and the title suits me. I prefer the cold months to the heat of summer. I hike in blizzards, reveling in the way snow enforces quietude. Have you ever noticed the sound of a snowflake hitting your jacket? The gentle, almost imperceptible tick? The way those ticks accumulate faster than you expect, until your shoulders are transformed into snow-capped mountains?

Have you ever, as an adult, tasted the not-quite-metallic tang of freshly fallen snow? Have you paused to let it melt in your mouth, momentarily chilling your lips and tongue? Have you stopped to acknowledge the beauty of white on naked branches, so distinct from the beauty of summer’s verdant greenery?

But snow is not just beautiful.

Snow is cold and biting. Snow stings. Snow cripples cities, layering on roads faster than plows can scrape it away, burying cars. Snow isolates people in rural areas, cuts them off from emergency services and the grocery store. Snow smothers people unlucky–or unwise–enough to get caught in its drifts. Snow weighs down the roofs of houses until they collapse on themselves.

On its own, a single snowflake may do nothing more than fall, invisible, inconsequential. Snowflakes rarely fall alone. Most people–perhaps even you–fear their force, and for good reason.

A single snowflake can’t kill you, but a blizzard can.

So if you want to call me a snowflake, call me a snowflake. That word holds no sting for me. I staked out my winter territory long before this debate. I’ll be here when you’ve forgotten it.

Snow: My favorite kind of weather

It snowed two inches this morning, and it’s still snowing, at least a little, but already what’s on the ground has started melting. I can hear the irregular drip of runoff and the swoosh of cars passing on the wet street.

People complain about weather like this, but I love it: the invigorating bite of cold against my cheeks, the crunch of snow beneath my boots, the gray sky that invites contemplation. Today is the kind of day that begs you to stay inside, wrapped up in a blanket, and read a book with a steaming cup of tea (or coffee, or hot chocolate, or even a hot toddy) by your side.

One reason people complain, I know, is because we are all forced out into the cold, forced to drive on icy roads, forced to work eight-hour or longer days, when Mother Nature is telling us to rest and travel inwards.

I wish we lived in a society allowed its members to look outside, take stock of the conditions, and decide whether or not it’s worth venturing out (at least for those performing non-essential work). But we don’t, and unless our economy changes drastically I don’t see that happening.

Just because I have to go to work every day, even when the roads are bad, doesn’t mean I can’t take advantage of winter’s gifts. It just means I have to work contemplation and playing in the snow with my dogs around my normal schedule—at least until I become a rich and famous author.

Because I have daily migraines, I need more down time than those who are healthy. I’ve struggled to accept that I can’t do as much as I could before I started having migraines every day, but the quiet of winter helps me take the rest I need.

And by aiming to become a full-time creative writer, I’m slowly building the life I want—the kind of life that allows me to respond to the weather and listen to my body when it tells me I need a day off.

How do you handle winter? Do you have seasonal affective disorder, or does cold air make you feel alive? Do you love snow? Hate it? Share your favorite or least favorite aspects of winter in the comments!