Annually, from November until March New Englanders find themselves in a condition called WINTER. A time of cold and early evening darkness, many have a tendency to curl up in a ball and hibernate until spring. But if they do so they miss out on this expansive time of year when the world is bright and enervating, when the world is frequently blessed with a white renewal and the cold itself brings a new sense of life and purpose.
Finding a new excitement
Snow is cold, so it stays around for a long time once winter begins. Getting out into the white stuff presents opportunities. If it falls light and fluffy, the sort of snow that blows around easily in a wind, put on your coats and boots and drag the family out into the yard to play in it. Snow Angels immediately come to mind, it’s simple. Flop down on your back and wave your arms in the snow. Carefully stand up and there on the ground is the outline of an angel. Stand the family in a circle facing one another and when they are done you have a wreath of snow Angels.
The play gets even better if the snow is wetter and sticky. There is the traditional snowman (or woman) of course, and they can be fun to build. Make a snowball and then roll it along the ground, changing directions from time to time to keep the growing ball round. Make a great big one for a base, than another a bit smaller for a middle. Finally make another ball, still smaller, and put it on top for a head. Simple, easy and a great deal of fun, especially with family or a group of close friends. Find something to makes eyes, nose and mouth with and, if the mood strikes, fashion arms.
Experiment a bit. Try becoming a sculptor. Pick your subject, an elephant maybe, a standing figure, a house or castle? I once, with the help of some college friends, constructed a larger than life sized mermaid on a lawn in Cambridge, Massachusetts that caused great excitement in the neighborhood and even drew the local police after a complaint by a prudish neighbor. We, and other neighbors convinced the police that it was a work of art and she stayed until vanquished by the sun.
Find a hill
Sliding is another of those things that can be fun and need not be expensive,. You don’t need a big long hill (but there is nothing wrong if you can find one). Just enough drop to give you some momentum. Often city parks have such places. It is nice to have a sled or toboggan but if you don’t have one, those round plastic or aluminum platters you get at the neighborhood hardware store work just as well and, even without one, a big piece of cardboard can serve the purpose.
Getting off the Couch
The critical thing is not to become couch or TV bound when the temperatures drop and the ground turns white. Get out into the weather three or four times a week. Do something, even just taking a walk is great. Build a snowman or woman, snow animal or modernist snowsculpture. It is far more exciting than settling into a vegetative state.