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What a Snowy Day Taught Me About Slowing Down and Resting

Post updated 2/24/2023

I love spending time outdoors. Walking, hiking, camping, and exploring, all sounds great to me. When you add snow into the mix, I’m a happy camper. And that’s the unexpected treat we got last week here on the Oregon Coast.

It’s a rare enough occurrence that when we get enough to make a snowball, we gush and exclaim over the beauty.

Fond Snowy Memories

From Grade 4-6, I lived in a small town about an hour north of Calgary Alberta. And in the winter it snowed. A lot. And I loved it.

The town was small enough that we didn’t have to drive much during the winter. The battery was always out of the car and plugged-in to stay charged. If you needed something from the store, you walked into town to get it.

Thankfully, I wasn’t cooped up in the house with the Polar Vortex that the Midwest U.S. and Canada have been dealing with. I would have driven my Mom insane bouncing off the walls of our tiny apartment.

I loved it. I had the winter coat, the snow pants, the boots, the gloves, and eventually a pair of skates of my own. Playing outside as much as possible was my goal.

Snow drifts and trying to stay on top of them were a fun way to walk to and from school. I often spent my recesses outside in the snow and playing on the small ice field they made for us once the temperature stayed low enough to keep it frozen.

Weekends there were the outdoor skating rinks behind our home or I would walk to the public indoor skating rink in town. The one behind our apartment was my favorite. I would throw on my skates with the skate guards still attached and slide down a small hill to the rink.

Mid-winter, the rinks would stay filled with snow. They would carve an oval ring out for us so we could still skate around. Not that we used it much. It was more a game of snowball fights and pushing each other over into the massive piles of snow.

When we got chilled, we would dash into the heated shacks. These were small rustic buildings that were kept nice and toasty warm during the cold winter months. We would warm up, head back out, and all too soon, covered in snow from head to toe all over again.

To say I have fond memories tied to snow is an understatement. When we moved back to Oregon, it is something I missed.

Snowy Adventures on the Oregon Coast

As an adult, seeing snow makes me feel like a kid again. To my surprise and delight, last week we woke up to a snow-covered world outside. Large evergreen trees were all trimmed in white. The green of the grass in my yard was barely visible. The gray cloudy sky looked like it was promising more snow. It felt and looked magical.

My immediate thought was to bundle up, grab the dogs, and head out for a walk.

Bailey is a beach dog, but he also LOVES snow. He likes the crunch under his paws and walking under large branches hanging low, loaded with snow. He runs, jumps, and wants to play all in his excitement.

It’s an adventure not to be missed when the sky is full of those large cotton balls looking flakes, slowly drifting down.

So off we went.

We headed over to a church just down the road where I knew the parking lot would be empty and I could let the dogs run around and play.

While I explored with my camera, Bailey and my Mom’s dog Oliver explored with their noses. Tails and ears up, noses to the ground, running from one thing to the next. Their excitement was contagious, and I couldn’t help but smile.

Snow Days On the Oregon Coast Are Meant to Be Enjoyed

Once we got back home, I continued to watch the snowfall. Looking away was hard. I found it difficult to concentrate on anything but what was happening outside my window. There was so much to see.

Huge snowflakes were slowly floating down. The small flowering fruit tree in my front yard was looking reading for Christmas. My little garden was barely visible under a blanket of white. It seemed as if the entire scene out my window changed if I looked away, even for just a few minutes.

Slowing Down and Rest: Lessons I need to relearn often

The idea of kicking off my shoes, grabbing a fuzzy blanket, and sitting by my fireplace to watch the magnificent show happening outside was enticing. It sounded like the perfect way to enjoy the moment. Instead, my brain kicked into high gear, reminding me of the long to-do list I had waiting for me.

I mean c’mon! Here was this rare treat right outside my door and I’m fighting an inward battle instead of enjoying it. My brain was telling me I was wasting my time. I was restless, pacing back and forth, trying to figure out what to do.

I let go of my “should do” list after some effort. It was time to start “being” instead of “doing.” It was time to shut down the inner need to be productive, to slow down, let my brain rest, and just be.

The morning walk, the inner battle, and finally the relaxing into the lovely snowy morning showed me I have so much more to learn about resting. Taking the time to enjoy God’s creativity and creation is one of the best ways I know of to find life-giving rest and refreshment.

As expected, by the end of the day, most of the snow had melted and faded away.

It had been a struggle for me to enjoy this treat, and there were still questions about why. There were no appointments scheduled. There were no expectations of what I had to get done except my own.

There was an “aha” moment when I realized I was missing the signals that my need for rest was being ignored.

Restlessness. Lack of focus. Feeling the need to get “all the things” done right now. Unable to turn off the brain, moving from one idea to the next or to the next item on the to-do list. Each is a signal that something is off. Signals that I rarely recognize until later.

Balancing the need for rest and working on my goals is not always easy. I need to do a better job of stewarding my time and energy. There are many days where I mess up and overdo it.

Resting is a vital piece in my physical and mental health puzzle. When I disregard the boundaries, I’ve set for work and rest. There is a price to pay. Old habits die hard. But, this is an important lesson I’m learning and a snowy day was the catalyst needed to recognize what was happening.

This beautiful, wintery, snowy day was the reminder I needed to look slow down, rest, and enjoy the moment.

After all, it was an event not to be missed.

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