Sirens of Snow

7 01 2009

van-snowIt was amazing! Over the holidays, we had record snowfalls here in Vancouver. People said they hadn’t seen anything like this since 1996. I have to admit, I have a bit of an affinity for snow, so I was tickled to see it coming down. In those first few days, it was like the entire city was transformed. The few feet we got was like a thick blanket tucking everyone in  for a rest.

It muffled all sound. It stopped the usual heavy traffic. In the evening it reflected the street lights with a warm glow.  People walked down the middle of streets almost in a shocked daze. It quieted the anxious, driven energy of the city and with a big sigh fell into a state of…..peacefulness.  I felt so calm, so centered, so happy. It’s like it gave my thoughts and feelings time to unravel and place themselves into some interpretable form.sirens

Something else also came with the snow. The sirens. The city, it seemed, didn’t share this welcome for a quiet rest (even if it knew it would be brief). In the quiet of snow cover, the sound of the sirens stood out in stark relief.

As I listened to them going, day and night, it spoke of people in distress, of panic, of hurt. It saddened me to think that while I was enjoying this time with my family and having fun  in the snow, there were people who were suffering.

But it also spoke to a condition. The sirens sounded like the city itself was moaning, crying out  at being FORCED to slow down. Forced to stop. Forced to take a breath. To look inward, released of the distraction of its dizzying, frantic energy. Forced to take stock of this last year and honestly reassess what is important, what really matters. And it didn’t want to, because to do so is much harder and far more uncomfortable than speeding along blindly, not thinking about where you’re going or why.

Then I would think about all the people and the places that deal with far worse conditions than we have, for a far greater length of time. It brings everything quickly into perspective.

Let the snow come, let the city wail. Take pause. Make this next week, this next month, this next year, really matter.

s.

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8 responses

7 01 2009
Kadria

Great post, Shane! wow, i haven’t been around snow in years, literally! Will you guys be going to the Vancouver Regional Conference? Sure hope so and can’t wait to hear about it 🙂
Love to you and the fam.

7 01 2009
gymjane

Thanks Kadria. Will be helping out with the conference, not sure how much I’ll be able to take in. But whatever I get, I’ll be sure to pass it on.

Take Care!
s.

7 01 2009
juliet

wow beautiful words shane. Thank you for that!

7 01 2009
Mom

I loved reading your reflection on snow and its effects. I don’t doubt that all this snow brings back childhood memories. Edmonton’s deep freeze temperatures certainly remind me of the north these days as I wear my northern parka…not too much snow however…just lots of -25 degree weather! Here’s to great Canadian winters!

7 01 2009
gymjane

Thanks Mom! Brings back loads of them:). Except for a couple crisp mornings, it’s actually been quite balmy compared to Edmonton. Enjoy the rest of your winter, apparently ours is over.

9 01 2009
Richard

Shane,
Thanks for the reflection. Today I was mountain biking in Chiang Mai from about 1200 meters down to the town so naturally I was thinking of you and Chris and how you would have done this adventure. What I thought was going to happen was a bit like going up Crown Mt. It looked so easy but then was so challenging. I thought I was going to have a leisurely rid down some nice roads but they ended up being full of rocks, and ruts. I had to pay attention all the way down but it was really fun. Think it may be a metaphor for what is coming ahead. Lots of speed but watch for the ruts. Only went over the handle bars once.

12 01 2009
sleep and snow, what else is there in my life to talk about right now? « hoogli art

[…] to go grocery shopping to our hearts content. YIPEEE! My husband wrote a beautiful post about it here. We were joking this morning that we have never been so happy to see the rain. And that’s […]

13 01 2009
gymjane

Haha, that’s awesome Richard. Way to keep the adventure alive.

s.

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