October 14, 2018

Pure As The Driven Snow

This is why I came to Minnesota.

No, it's not the whole reason.  Not even remotely.  But, two of the driving forces are in that video:  that little guy, and that white stuff.

As a driver for Uber and Lyft, I repeat myself very often.  Every time a native Minnesotan gets into my car and hears my southern accent, the same exchange generally takes place.

Passenger:  Where are you from?

Me:  I'm from Georgia.  I moved here X months ago.

P:  Why'd you move to Minnesota?

Me:  (Short Version) I needed a fresh start, and the Twin Cities were the perfect place.

P:  So, you haven't been through a winter yet.

Me:  Well, I lived in Milwaukee for six years.

P:  Oh, so you know.

It's then that I explain to the passenger that, during those six years, this southern boy got to really love winter weather.  Then, we moved back to Georgia, where winter doesn't exist.  Instead, the high temperature rarely gets below seventy degrees.  Rankin-Bass really did capture it well.

I know that many people love that kind of weather, and I'm happy for them.  But, fifteen years of everything staying pretty much the same has, to beg a moment of pure transparency, drained the life from my spirit and taken the smile from my face.

...And, to be clear, I'm not just talking about the weather.

The last three years, in particular, have been the hardest of my life, as I've seen firsthand, in my life and my family's reality, that the more things (and, far too often, people) change, the more they stay the same.  And, as I fight what seems like a very uphill battle with depression, financial hardship, and just plain anger, I often think to myself that things are never going to get better.

But, then I woke up this morning and saw that first snowfall.

I can't exactly explain it, but as the snow gently fluttered, as my little nephew caught snowflakes on his tongue, as I drove to church this morning and saw fir trees flocked with a light dusting of powdery white, my spirit somehow lifted.  I was smiling, shaking hands with fellow churchgoers, and greeting them cheerfully.

Now, it may or may not last long.  The snow will likely be melted by tomorrow, and I may also be the same depressed, repressed individual that my family here knows and lovingly tolerates.  But, for now--for this single moment in time--I feel very much like the man I used to be.

And, I'm relearning an important truth, one that I hear Minnesotans repeat often in an ominous tone:  winter is coming.

For many, winter reflects sorrow.  It's used that way in literature quite often.  "The winter of our discontent," Shakespeare called it.  But for others, myself included, winter reflects joy, light, and cleansing.  As the phrase goes, "pure as the driven snow."

Seasons change here.  No matter how long the summer of my discontent lasts, winter will always come