Before You Pack Up and Head South.............

Thursday, February 12, 2015

While there is never a shortage of controversy and conflict in the news, there is one area where one can find almost certain agreement......at least here in the Northeast, and that is regarding the weather.  Unless you happen to be wintering in Florida, just about everyone you talk to has had about enough of this snowy winter.  People are frustrated, exhausted, and crying "Uncle".   It's sure been an old fashioned winter in these parts......lots of cold temperatures, even sub-zero cold, with many more days predicted.   The snow has come in waves - sometimes a few inches at a time, other times in bonus totals exceeding a foot.   The snowbanks are piled high making it hard to turn onto roadways from driveways and side streets.  People are running out of places to pile the snow.  Houses are adorned with rows of icicles, and although pretty they are causing ice damage and roof leaks.  Yes, some could say this is winter in the Northeast and we should expect this and they would be correct. Yet, most anyone you talk to has had enough and is ready for spring.  And so we are reminded that time moves at its own pace, regardless of the conditions we are enduring, whether that be this artic weather or circumstances in our personal lives.  Time stands still for no one nor does it speed ahead.  We, its passengers, are simply along for the ride.

One of my winter projects has been the task of cleaning out my digital photo files.  One of the great advantages to digital photography is the price (or lack thereof) which allows us shutterbugs to snap away taking countless photos - often of the same subject.  Maybe it's just me, but I end up with tens of thousands of photos many of which are duplicates, triplicates, out of focus shots, closed eye shots, 15 of the same sunset at different settings............and the list goes on.  Be honest - you all are guilty of a little of this, right?   Well, in sorting through photos I came across a series I took last winter - February 11th actually.  In case you're forgetting last winter in the depths of this year's totals, last year was also a pretty snowy and icy winter.  Yet on this day last February 11, 2014, I was entertained by this flock of visitors.
Now seeing robins in the middle of winter is not all that uncommon anymore.  While they may not be constant visitors, they do make an appearance from time to time.   This particular sunny day, a flock arrived hungry.  Unlike this year, my crabapple was still full of fruit.  This hardy bunch made themselves at home for the afternoon dining on this frozen treat.   They seemed almost oblivious to the cold or to the frozen groundcover beneath them.  Watching them that day and thinking back on it today made me think...................



In life we are met with all sorts of challenges, obstacles, and circumstances.  Some of them test our endurance, others test our resilience and others test our tenacity.  At various times in our lives we're faced with loss.  That may be of a job or a loved one; it may be a friendship gone bad.  At times we're faced with illness.....this winter has been particularly hard in this area where so many have been sick with the flu and its complications.   So many folks are struggling with today's economy,  some barely making ends meet.  During these extended days of frigid temperatures, the news is always announcing Code Blue - a status that indicates that shelters will be open to the homeless.  While the reality of the homeless never escapes my awareness - at times like these, it is so much harder to comprehend how people actually live like that from day to day, sometimes for years of their lives.   It is incomprehensible to me how those people survive these winter months.  Those of us fortunate enough to live in a warm home, putting our head on a soft pillow under a warm blanket every night seem pretty whiny and self-centered complaining about the cold temperatures or the snow we have to shovel or blow from our driveways, don't we?   What little we have to complain about!!
So, while we all zip our coats a little higher, or add another layer of clothing, or crank our heat a degree higher - let us be thankful for our blessings.  If your roof is leaking - thank God you HAVE a roof!  Remember that there are many, many folks out there who don't have a warm home to come into, or a warm bed to spend the night.  Consider donating some hats or gloves or coats to the local charities.  Yes, we are enduring a brutal Northeast winter, but focus on the positive -- you are ENDURING.  Be like the robins - make the most of your conditions.  Count your blessings.  Find some silver lining to your circumstances whether that means tackling a project, going for a drive, or watching your own feathered friends  -  take this opportunity to make the most of your circumstances.  Life may not be perfect, you may be sick of driving to work in these treacherous conditions, your driveway might look like Mt. Everest, but if you're reading this you are breathing, you have your eyesight and you probably have many more reasons to be thankful.



In the words of Art Buckwald, "Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's all we've got!"
And when you really stop to think about it - we've got a lot!   Stay warm, stay safe and thanks for coming along on Life As I See It!

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One Response to “Before You Pack Up and Head South.............”

  1. Gail, This is a wonderful reflection on winter and gratitude. It reminds me that some people see a half glass of water and their first thought is, "Who took MY water?" and others see a half glass of water and their first thought is "Who GAVE me their water?" It is the difference between a scarcity and abundant mentality. Mary and I are so grateful to have the opportunity to be In Florida during the most difficult days of winter. We have been very deliberate in choosing to be here in February and March as we experience plenty of winter in the months leading up to our departure. The challenge in Upstate NY is not so much the severity of winter as its duration. Six months of snow and cold is just a lot to endure. pc

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