Snow Globe




The Snow Globe Outside My Double Hung Window

Carolyn Tody


In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” … Anne Frank


In the world outside my window, today is bright and beautiful!

What, you think not? Outside my window there is a snow globe with the beauty of a vintage card. Nature is creating a wintry scene straight out of my imagination. Everywhere I look there is whiteness, as wind-blown plumes rise from a distant snow blower hidden among the growing piles of snow. I’m transfixed by the shimmering magic.

Today it would be easy to hide in my comfort zone. I’d write. I’d read a book. I’d dream about the ever-growing snow bank outside, piling high, like a magnificent snow beast holding me ransom for a beaker of hot chocolate spiked with rum.

Instead, the snow is falling victim to an invading fleet of whirring, encroaching machines that disturb my stillness. In quick succession several things happen:

  • My heart plummets.
  • My dream of comfort vanishes.
  • I remember that appointment I scheduled across town for later today.
  • Cabin fever roars in my head.

Somehow I have to out-maneuver the polar vortex with its increasing onslaught of fluffy white flakes. I need to clear my driveway – or face the consequences.

A second Code Red Alert in two days demands that residents “stay off the hazardous roads and prepare for sub-freezing temps.” Is this why I’m reluctant to go out into the snow globe to wield the shovel? Judging by photos I snap from my window, there are already sixteen inches of intensely moisture-laden snow on the ground. Immediately I formulate possible solutions:

  • I could wait and see if someone asks to shovel.
  • Delay action until the situation worsens. The weather report predicts another eight inches!
  • Someone has to go out and shovel.

Little do I know that deep within me a spiritual revolution is taking shape. My dilemma comes from two dreams colliding:

  1. First, I want to cozy up to the fireplace and spend the day with a steaming mug of tea.
  2. Then again, I want the freedom to vanquish my comfort cave and roar down the open drive.

With that realization, I choose the latter and feel my strength is rising. This time, I will override nature.  I will defeat inertia. I’ll open the clogged walkways by engaging the secret strategies I use to defeat all overwhelming situations, which include muttering something like, “I can” under my breath, invoking my virtual support system, and breaking out brandy stored for years in an abandoned dishwasher just for après-snow shoveling warmth. My fire is lit. Nevertheless, I dress in warm layers for the outdoors:

  • First, I don three pairs of thermal leggings, then
  • Tug on two-inch-thick mittens with metallic ski liners, and
  • I grab my iPod and keys and glance with reluctance at my warm and comfortable living room.
  • Why does it feel like it’s the last time?

Before I can change my mind, I quickly adapt 3 proven strategies:

  1. I repeat twice “I can do it.  I’m a woman on a mission; gloom and doom can’t get me down.”
  2. I consult my Golden Circle of Support – a journal cache that guarantees I’ll complete the task of snow removal because it provides a sense of hope.
  3. I keep a lookout for everyday miracles. Somewhere on the flip side of this challenge, there is a bright spot, a pot of gold, and/or a new opportunity,

Of course, there are also several obstacles to overcome:

  • My iPod goes silent every time I jiggle my headphones, and I need music to forget that I’m using the empty dishwasher to store brandy because the drain doesn’t work, it floods the kitchen floor, and I’ve abandoned the appliance for repair.
  • I have to block incoming images of a comfy, energy-robbing recliner calling me to snuggle.

And these pitfalls have solutions:

  1. Unlike more weighty tasks, restoring my music connection is easily done in a small moment.
  2. Activate my newly kindled inspiration for hiring a repair service to fix the dishwasher.

Sirens sound in the distance, and I am running out of time. The snow emergency rises in priority. A powerful “why” snaps into place:

  • Family and other life crises could arise when a heavy snowfall endangers my ability to drive on safe and accessible roads. Deep snow is an obstacle to freedom.

I could think of other barriers to leaving my comfort zone, but the warm winter clothing bolsters my ‘can do’ attitude ,and lively music brightens my soul. Muttering “I can do it,” I lower the huge shovel with a mighty whoosh.

My solo efforts last for all of five minutes. That’s when, voilà, a hot new neighbor sees me and comes out to help. Two other fellows plowing snow next door also see my plight. Pretty soon we form an enthusiastic shovel brigade. It’s like a “snowparty,” without the snowballs. Our foursome digs with fury. When the snow is finally piled high beside the walks and drive, I bless them and sweeten my thank you with an offer of brandy; however, none of my impromptu helpers accept any compensation other than a simple thank you and a smile.

In less than fifteen minutes I’m back inside. The promised brandy in the dishwasher is forgotten for another year. Victory is reward enough. I’d say the shoveling went very well today.

While freedom beckons to me from the open drive, I dangle the car keys from my fingers and stand at the window to contemplate what just happened.

Greater perspective breaks slowly into my thoughts, reminding me that:

  • The pitfalls of any challenge generally conceal payoffs too.
  • The real challenge is remembering to check the flip side for everyday miracles.

What is the bright spot in having left my comfort zone? What is the payoff? I look in my pot of gold and find at least three coins:

  1. A gold coin that captures the benefit in allowing other people to benefit from helping me. Maybe this is all humankind needs to do in many situations: Confront challenges with a smile, let go, and plunge in to do our part — while the rest falls into place without sacrificing our safety.
  2. A silver coin that claims the interpersonal rewards that come from risking interdependence while outside my circle of comfort, and this lessens my independent solitude.
  3. A copper coin that validates my consequences from using well-informed choices and acknowledges other possible options.

It’s true that the goal I chose, navigating the driveway, was minor as a dream; but even the smallest details of life are significant. What about my larger life dream of freedom? What if I hadn’t acted at exactly that moment? Would I still be stuck inside with cabin fever? Or would I be outdoors, shoveling, alone in the dark…and freezing?

The answers are elusive. So I count my blessings, because it’s the best way of expressing my gratitude for these gifts of strength, resiliency, and the savvy knowing that even a kind and gentle soul can step out of the comfort zone and do good.

When it’s all over, I think we all need to know we did our best. We need a positive outcome. We need to fulfill our life dreams. If you agree, and you too have unmet life dreams, then ask yourself:

  • What powerful WHY propels your goal or life dream?
  • What obstacle prevents you from realizing your dream?
  • What is one small step you could take today to feel like you are acting on your dream?

With that, I close my window blinds against the wintry glare, swing my keys proudly into place, and walk outside – grateful for such a beautiful day.