There’s something about the white stuff that makes me happy, at least initially. Don’t worry, I’m talking about snow.
As it started to fall last Friday, I stared out my front window mesmerized by how the snow turned our front yard into a work of art. And once my family reported in safe, I felt downright serene.
I chomped on chips and watched television, at peace with the world. The lights flickered a couple of times, but I knew that our Hurricane-Irene-inspired hardwired generator stood like a sentinel in the backyard.
When the power did go out at 4:00 p.m., I saluted the generator that restored power and the television in five seconds flat.
But as the snow continued to fall, the feeling shifted . . . .
I started imagining that we could be snowed in for days, and days, and days. I drove my husband crazy with stories about pioneers who were snowed in one-room cabins from October to March. And, unless they were in the cast of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” they went snow-crazy.
I worried about the birds and the rabbits and the racoons outside. I tried to put birdseed on top of a particularly large drift, but the snow overtook it immediately.
And the anxiety started piling up as fast as the snow.
When we ran out of Dr. Peppers, I wondered how I would survive. My husband mentioned the Donner Pass crowd, which caused us to wonder who would go first. The dog growled in his own defense.
I decided to enjoy the elements and tried to play in the snow. . .
Unfortunately, I found weird footprints in my yard that were 70+ inches apart. Instead of thinking “squirrel,” which I’m positive was the culprit, I immediately imagined Bigfoot pacing around the woods ready to pounce.
Saturday morning, I decided to be a pioneer woman and went out to shovel snow. On the third scoop and toss, I hurt my back. Now I was stuck and injured. Bigfoot would definitely come after me now. The injured are always the first to go.
Then something beautiful happened. The same snowfall that had me glancing at the woods fearfully, ceased. I realized that fresh Dr. Peppers were in my future, and that there would be no Donner Pass decisions. I smiled.
What changed between the beginning of the snow and the end . . .
My anxiety was caused not by the snow, nor by the loss of power (thank you hardwired generator – I truly love you), nor by the large footprints (still a little concerned about those), but by my fear. I had shifted my stories from the beauty of snow to being trapped by it.
And that, my friends, is the power of story. So, take it from me – pay attention to the stories you tell yourself. Because your body reacts to the threat, no matter how farfetched. Your body takes your mind at its word.
Next time it snows, I’m telling myself better stories so I can enjoy the quiet. And I’m moving out of the country, because I am pretty sure Bigfoot caught a glimpse of me.