Guidelines: Spread Salt and Kindness


By Simon Ambit

What started out in December as the season’s first flakes of snow was welcomed by adults and children alike. It has now grown to several back-to-back storms, daily accumulations and repeated clearing of roads, lots and walks. I’m not sure on the “by the numbers” side of the storm but on a “by the shovel full” point of view, it seems to have been a long time since we’ve had accumulations like this around here. We’ve seen snowball fights, sledding, snowmen, snow forts, skiing and various other forms of snow-crazed recreational activities.

But, we’ve also seen lots and lots of plowing and pushing, salting and sanding, loading and hauling. And many of us have gotten far too familiar with the wintertime dance step: the snow shovel shuffle! Shovel it, pile it, salt it and repeat it!

The storms have not only covered our valley with a blanket of snow, but also with a veil of opportunity. I have seen kind residents shovel, plow and snow-blow a neighbor’s drive, boy scouts clear a widow’s walkway, strangers jump out to help push stuck cars back onto the road and colleagues clear the snow away from an out-of-town co-workers vehicle.

Although the winter season does put a stop to many outside activities, it is a necessary time for gardens and plant life. If many of the plants native to our area did not have winter, a period to rest, a time to “chill-out,” they would not sufficiently bloom and we would be unable to enjoy many of our favorite fruits and nuts.

The cold of winter is also when the leaf growth on turf goes dormant, but the root system remains slowly working and creating foods to support the spurt of fresh growth of springtime.

I’ve heard it comically said that the snow in our area seldom melts; the winds of the valley simply blow it around in circles and wear it out! Whether the snow is coming down or blowing in circles, enjoy the season, for it is a necessary part of the future harvest.

Among the cold and the storms, there are opportunities for warmth and generosity as we look for ways to spread kindness and not just salt, shovel burdens and not just snow. As the plants utilize this time of year to pay it forward, may we take time to do the same.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” –Winston Churchill.

Life is good, pay it forward.

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