The secret to surviving winter in New England I think, is learning to embrace it, vs. just enduring it!
Preparing for winter means more than preparing your home and your vehicle, you also need to prepare your head!
Of course, we have record snowfalls, freezing temperatures, dark mornings, early evenings, business closures and power outages at very inconvenient times. But it is, after all, New England. It’s part of what makes us special!
At least if you live here, you can expect (or even anticipate these events). We don’t have too many earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or floods, although lately that seems to be changing. Anyway, the point is, these challenging factors often outweigh and overshadow the softer, more subtle aspects of winter in New England.
So while we are getting our extra supplies of batteries, candles and water, it’s good to think about stocking up on cocoa, herbal teas and good books too.
There’s a lot of preparation for surviving the season: get the snow tires on, get the oil delivered and the furnace cleaned, pull all the storm windows down and put up all the storm doors, find that elusive snow shovel, have the chimney cleaned, fill all the kerosene lamps, make sure all the firewood is under cover… the list goes on and on. These are all practical ‘housekeeping’ considerations.
Don’t forget the psychological factors. It’s just as important to have a plan for these things.
Think about how to cope with the days getting darker sooner and lighter later. Try to notice the incredibly intricate designs left by Jack Frost on the windows. It’s a really beautiful time of year. Fresh fallen snow creates a tracery pattern of previously barren branches. Landscapes are coated in a whipped cream covering. Perhaps we will be able to see the sunrise or sunset on the way to and from work now. Maybe there will be more time to catch up on some of those books in the pile. There may even be some time to go back to the time-honored tradition of letter writing!
How will you get to work on time if we receive a lot of extra snow over night?Maybe you could plan to rise a bit earlier this time of year. It’s probably going to be dark anyway so you may not notice the lack of a bit of sleep. Think about it as extra ME time most days. Time to fit in another chapter in your book or check your e-mails, or pack a lunch … If the weather is inclement, use it to get an earlier start on the road before traffic gets busy, no additional stress necessary.
What will you do with yourself shut in for so many hours a day? Take time to enjoy cooking and eating a meal. The aromas of slow cooked food can be very soothing. Catch up on a hobby you just couldn’t fit in during the summer months. Listen to an entire CD in one sitting. Make some gifts for people you care about. Enjoy a lingering phone call with someone you haven’t had time to reminisce with in a while.
Don’t be shut in! Get out! Play in the snow if you are so inclined. Strap on some cross-country skis or snowshoes and enjoy it! Okay, if that doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, take advantage of the programs that are offered in various places about the community this time of year. Join a club, listen to some storytellers, visit the library, take an adult education class, check out your local community center for ideas.
Make winter work for you. Think about what things you don’t have time for in the summer that you could pursue in winter. Make that happen. Embrace the season. When the first snowflakes ping on your window, don’t be filled with dread; instead, be filled with wonder at the beauty and anticipation at the possibilities …