One thing the snow can give us is a sense of perspective. Just like at Christmas, everything stops. We stay at home; we spend time with our families and we get out and walk places. Our world falls silent.
The snow is starting to thaw and life will soon return to its normal pace. We humans will continue to scurry ever faster in an attempt to do everything and see everything before our inevitable demise.
You can’t take it with you…
Whichever card we are dealt, whether we are rich or poor, whatever our ethnic background, we will all end up in the same place in the end.
Every day we spend doing a job we hate is wasted. Every hour we spend in traffic is wasted. Every minute we spend staring angrily at our social media feeds, is wasted. As I age I’m quickly starting to realise that we’ve all been sold a huge lie.
We are forever being sold the next big thing —the next model; the newest feature you never knew you needed, but in order to pay for it you are going to have to work more, for longer and at a higher level in order to fund the lifestyle you are being told you must have.
Money, at the end of the day is a social construct and the pursuit of “more” is invariably at odds with the planet and even our own biology. Whether we are talking about the rainforests, slashed and burned for agriculture and for paper for that oh-so-important document hardly anyone is going to read, or the enormous craters that are dug into the earth to extract fossil fuels and precious metals. It all amounts to an act of destruction.
However, it is a job for someone. Someone has to operate the chainsaws and the diggers, right? Someone has to operate the machine from dawn ’til dusk in order to earn the money to pay the landlord or the bank for the roof over their heads, to keep the lights on and put food on the table.
How many of us, hand on heart can say that what we do for 8 hours a day or more, is worthwhile to ourselves or even society? I would guess that many of us are merely feeding the beast. Working to earn money just so we can provide ourselves with basic human needs —shelter, food and warmth.
Is this the only way?
One thing about putting our little plot of world on pause for a few days is that it gives you space to think. The constant drone of traffic outside subsides and you get a feel for what life must be like in a smaller town, despite being in a capital city. Even the roar of the A470, which can be heard from the top of the Garth and beyond, is uncharacteristically serene.
You are forced to make use of the services nearby —the local shops, the local pubs and restaurants. I bet for most of us these services are perfectly adequate, even good. When we talk about the “death of the high street”, it is not the lack of free parking, it’s because people who can walk to them even in 8 inches of snow, would rather drive twice the distance if it means they don’t actually have to use their legs.
Yes, there may always be people who need to drive, particularly those in front-line services who have had to dig especially deep these past few days to get to work at a local hospital, or tend to the housebound wherever they may be, but this is certainly not the case for everyone.
What if when the snows have melted we continue to shop locally; socialise locally at places we can walk or cycle to? Why can’t we keep that beautiful, calming silence that we have enjoyed these past few days? Instead of aspiring to own the next model, or the next ‘thing’, perhaps we should aspire to need less; to spend less so we can make better use of that one resource we do have —time.