Paul Jacob

It's snowing

People express this simple fact with markedly different emphasis and emotion. With joy, my 10-year old screeches it at the top of her lungs. My wife mutters it as if an invading army had just crossed the Potomac — perhaps from Copenhagen, where they had huddled to “do something” about the climate.

This current burst of precipitation is no light dusting: We’ve received more than a foot of snow, and it’s still coming down, the air full of the swirling white stuff.

I like snow. It excites me — in some part because I’m slow to appreciate new realities. I react just as I did in school (more than three decades ago): That is, a miracle has occurred, preventing the cruel teacher, world, you-name-it, from controlling my life as previously planned.

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But I’m not a schoolboy anymore. Snow or no snow, I have a column due Saturday evening, and so I must write. Yet, how can anyone sit still in their basement to write when snow pours out of the sky above?

The fond memories of sledding with my daughters over the years, and making snowmen, cross my mind. I don’t even object to shoveling. It’s hard work, but it is also good exercise, leaving one with a firm sense of satisfaction, provided one avoids keeling over from a heart attack.

Minutes ago I could have been found shoveling the driveway and the walk, and cleaning off the cars. The snow was coming down faster than I could shovel it out of the way, so I gave up.

I guess “I can’t get me no satisfaction,” at least not until the snow lets up. But there is some serenity: I can easily accept that Mother Nature is more powerful than I am. (It’s an ancient wisdom: Do not fret about what you have no control over.) And there is nothing anyone can do about it — not President Obama, the federal Congress, the Supreme Court or the United Nations.

For someone who perhaps works too much and plays too little, snow — especially a blizzard — reminds me that sometimes life tosses out curve balls, and that, when that happens, you have to go with the pitch. Hoping for a fastball right down the middle — or protesting the pitch — won’t stop it from breaking across the plate for a strike.

Or help you hit it.


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.