12 January 2011


"Snow Guilt (n): the reluctance to admit to one's enjoyment of a beautiful snowfall if one is not the person who usually shovels the driveway."
Today, I'm having a quite serious case of snow guilt. Because the view outside is very beautiful, and there is no way I would be able to get the car out of the driveway later today if the guys hadn't done the shovelling at seven o'clock this morning. It's their energy that allows me to enjoy the wonderful white vista outside my window.

Which makes me think of the issue of energy. This is my first week "not working", and I'm digging into my house, sorting, cleaning, cooking, baking... All stuff that's been on the back burner for, well, about a year. Most of my energy- mental, emotional, and even physical energy- has gone into my job; now that that's gone, I can spend it on other matters.

And doing all this, it's making me realize that everything we do, everything that happens, comes with a price tag. Everything costs. And in a lot of cases, the cost is energy- my energy. There's this lovely ideology around about how much better it is to do homemade-everything; after all, it's FREE- right? "Don't use your dryer- it's better for the clothes, for the environment, and for your pocketbook!" Uh, yeah, but I pay for it with my energy. "Grow your own vegetables- it's organic, local food, great exercise, and soo much cheaper!" Uh, yeah, except for the cost of my energy and time. "Don't take the car; walk or ride a bike- it's healthier, better for the environment, and cheaper!" Uh, yeah... All of those things, they're healthier, cheaper, better for the environment- and it's human energy, my energy, that pays for it.

And my point is not that these things aren't healthier and cheaper and all that, but that we often discount the energy they take- we discount the cost. Human energy is not even factored into the equation; it's like it's value-less, worthless. Earth energy is valuable (which is a fairly new attitude, globally speaking, and needs more work yet); money is valuable; but human energy is not. And that leads to all kinds of issues- burnout being one of them, and perpetual guilt for some of us...

However. I'd better go and excavate the bird feeder from its featherbed of snow, so the juncos and rosy finches can get at the sunflower seeds. Watching them hop around under the balcony table, searching through the seed husks for something edible, just makes me feel guilty again- and that's a guilt that's easily assuaged, with very little energy expense. As for snow guilt, perhaps I can just let go of it- or better yet, I think I'll convert it to Snow Gratitude: the enjoyment of the beauty of a snowfall amplified by the appreciation of the energy spent by others on shovelling the driveway.

Life, the Universe and Snow Days. It's all in how you look at it.


  1. Snow Gratitude! I like that! I'm enjoying the snow view out my window too, although I'm not looking at the lake like you are! Enjoy!

  2. I prefer the snow gratitude too but mostly I prefer no snow. I especially like not working at a job. It's pure luxury. I'm going to enjoy it while I can. The condo has never looked better.