Weather reminders for the upcoming weeks
Sloppy, slippery weather came to town this week — the first real dose of winter. Not bad, considering the last few winters started in October. The weather should serve as a reminder of some things we often seem to forget:
Snow is fun. Too often, we focus on the inconvenience that comes with a winter storm. After you’ve gotten home safely — or instead of even attempting to go anywhere, spend some time walking through the woods, playing in the back yard, watching the dog romp and frolic, having a gentle snowball fight, building a snow fort or person, sledding. Then reward yourself by building a fire and making hot cocoa.
Be safe. While it’s fun, winter weather is also hazardous. Everyone is rushing this time of year, but give yourself extra time to get places and do things. Patience can be the difference between getting someplace safely and not.
When driving, use headlights. Slow down. Scrape ALL the snow off cars and especially the roofs of SUVs — flying snow can severely injure other drivers and it is illegal. Slow down. Remember that snow tires and four-wheel drive will not help on ice. Slow down. Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. Keep the cell phones OFF when driving, and wait until you are safely home for the evening to have that glass of wine. And did we mention? Slow down.
Be sensible. Adjust expectations when Mother Nature decides to throw a curve ball. Shopping can be done online, parties or play dates can be rescheduled, and the planned trip into the city or across town can be replaced by a family game night in front of the fire. Be prepared for delayed deliveries or canceled events.
When going out, dress for warmth more than fashion. Urge teens, especially, to wear a coat, snow boots, hat, and gloves in case their car or bus gets stuck or there is a fire drill and they end up in the elements (frostbite and hypothermia are not cool). When walking, dress to be seen with at least a bright-colored hat or scarf.
Be kind. This week — regardless of the weather — is a time we should all be focusing on one thing: kindness. It’s a sad anniversary of unspeakable heartache, but healing happens when we heed the pleas of the families touched most directly by last year’s tragedy in neighboring Newtown. They have requested, above all else, acts of kindness.
Shovel a neighbor’s driveway, or stop by with some leftover homemade soup. Leave a small token for the mail carrier who slogs through this muck every day to bring your packages and mail. Give an extra few dollars at the coffee shop drive-through to pay for the person in line behind you. Send an email to your child’s teacher telling him how appreciated he is.
Whatever act of kindness you choose, it’s sure to warm your heart as well as those you touch — no matter how cold it is outside.