The Value of Snow


It’s been snowing here.

The already rutted and grit stained street is covered with a fresh clean blanket of white powder.

It’s been cold here for a few weeks now which is unusual in a time of globally warmed, wet and windy winters.

If you would believe the news and bus stop conversation you would think that the snow was a terrible thing, the worst thing that could possibly happen.

Personally I love it!

I had a snow starved childhood. The closest we usually got to a white Christmas on the North Wales coast was if it was misty! Now when I see snow I’m pleased, I love the crunch of it underfoot, the quiet of its falling and its dazzling whiteness.

I realise from many practical points of view it’s a real pain in the neck. Paths are slippery, driving is difficult and it’s cold. I still love it.

I love it because it throws everything into sharp relief, it covers up the annoying little details of the world and shows the overall shape of the world.

I love it because of the clarity of a deep blue sunny winter’s day.  It’s a different view of the familiar.

I love it because it’s a challenge, you have to get kitted up to go out, you can’t just go out as you please. You need to be prepared. When you are out in it, it can be so much fun. Walks with friends are wonderful, sledging is exciting and convivial (how many people do you see sledging alone?)

I love it because it brings out the big kid in me

I love the contrast between the seasons. A vivid demonstration of the majestic, passage of time. A chance to reflect on what has been and what is to come.

All these feelings are important to me

  • seeing the big picture
  • clarity of vision
  • challenge
  • shared enjoyment.
  • fun
  • a chance to reflect.

To me this is the value of snow.

I think we often fall into the trap about thinking about things rather than considering what feelings are produced by the things. These feelings or values are quite personal, I’m quite prepared to believe that no-one else will have the same set of associations with snow that I do.

Maybe your feelings are mixed about snow, parts of the experience you enjoy and others you don’t.

I can even imagine that many people will have a lot of negative associations with snow (after all I am living in Britain).

What are the feelings that go with things? Everything elicits its own emotional reactions. What emotional reactions are important to you? What do you want to feel more of what do you want to feel less of or even avoid?

Feelings that are important to us, our values, guide our behaviour, provide our motivations or deterrents. Sometimes they can be straight forward and positive, as is my reaction to snow. At other times they can be conflicted or even hostile. However we feel about what’s important to us will play itself out over time in our behaviour and our experience. The funny thing is that these emotional responses are not fixed in stone, you can change them if you want to, clarify them, resolve conflicts within and between them and be more conscious.

If you want to become clearer and more conscious of what is important to you, you can attend the Aligning Your Values workshop that I am running at the beginning of February in Gateshead.

Now, it’s started snowing again, the sun has gone behind a cloud, flakes are spiralling down and I feel unreasonably happy.

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