In the Canadian winter, it snows. And snows. And
Yet, no matter how much snow we get, for my children,
the initial snowfall is always the most enthralling. Almost magical.
This morning was our first snow storm of the season.
We woke up engulfed in layers upon layers of white stuff. Snow covered
the roads; it coated our porch; and it blanketed our front steps.
It left a thick film of fluffy whiteness over the street lamps,
the rooftops of neighboring houses and the naked trees.
My children, as if on cue, woke up eagerly to greet
this new winter wonderland. Gazing out our front window, they were
impatient to get outside.
"It's really too cold out there. Maybe, later,"
I responded to their repeated pleas.
"We'll bundle up," they stubbornly insisted.
And even the youngest, who usually requires some assistance, dressed
himself instantly, adorned in a scarf, hat, gloves and boots according
to my exact specifications.
I glanced at the snow and I wanted to crawl back
under my warm covers. My children saw it, and were enchanted by
To me, the snow was cold and frigid. To them, it
To me it signaled winter's arrival and, of necessity,
would have to be dealt with. To them, it was a new and invigorating
environment filled with vast potential for fun and vivacity.
To me, the snow was burdensome, cumbersome. To
them, it was something to experience, to feel, touch, handle and
To me, it implied the chores of shoveling, the
urgency of finding the right partner for each boot and glove. To
them, it meant the opportunity to create new forms, to mold new
shapes. It presented a whole world of innovation.
I tried hard to remember back to the time when
I, too, looked at snow with the ardent anticipation that my children
did. I tried to rejuvenate my own perspective by reflecting on their
attitude to snow, and by extension, to life, in general.
I thought of how our soul wakes up every morning,
at the crack of dawn, refreshed and enthusiastic to begin its new
day. It, like my children, passionately waits to get its hands involved
with the work of our world. Zealously, it anticipates getting busy
molding creation, touching and experiencing the many facets and
aspects of our world to make it a better place.
It is ablaze with impatience to pray fervently,
to study Torah intensely, to extend itself in doing a favor or sharing
a smile of encouragement.
Our experienced and jaded self, though, complains
to the soul: It's too cold, it's too cumbersome. Maybe we'll pray
or study or do an act of kindness later. We'd rather get back under
Gradually, we deal with what needs to be taken
care of, but out of necessity. Do we merely shovel it away? Have
we forgotten the magic, the childlike joy and excitement in the
After some time outdoors, my children came back
inside. Seated around the kitchen table, they warmed their frozen
fingers and defrosted their bright, red cheeks while nibbling on
snacks and sipping hot chocolate. Each one enthusiastically described
all the shapes and forms he or she created.
We sat like that not more than fifteen minutes,
resting and enjoying the warmth of each other's company, when, to
my chagrin, my youngest child unexpectedly asked: "Can we go
back outside again, now?"