01/27/2015 02:52 pm ET Updated Mar 29, 2015

Snow Zen

Denis Jr. Tangney via Getty Images

Every winter could use a blizzard. Not for the lines for groceries or the hard commutes and cold weather faced by those outside, but as a reminder of our priorities. Weather can change all seemingly well-laid plans, and stop a city literally in its tracks. Somewhat surprisingly snow is not universally frustrating to all, and anger is not the first response. Rather, it has a calming and peaceful effect when it falls. It slows the pace and quiets the streets and requires us to change plans for the day. Snow is nature's Zen.

In a city where everyone seems to schedule each day with precision to the hour if not the minute, and neighbors rarely greet each other beyond a nod, all is changed when snow is measured with a yard stick instead of a ruler. When every form of transportation has come to a stand still, and even walking on city streets discouraged, there is a momentary new reality that we need to adjust what we had in our calendars and change what we had thought we would do with the day. We return to the basics of life and examine our needs and those around us. Snow allows simplicity.

During the lead up to a predicted snow, fashion changes to functionality, and schedules quickly rearranged. New Year's strict regimens of juice or protein seem long forgotten, and a bagel left on a wire rack seems akin to a discovery of gold. In a city where lines are expected and demand understood, we wait orderly for the last train out or to enter a supermarket and are thankful for the workers that keep the stores open for our supplies. What might otherwise seems frustrating, is instead readily accepted. Complaints are fewer and understanding greater when a city is confronted by a shared event. Everyone seems calmer and more courteous towards each other when we stop and realize we are united.

In the midst of a month of having and hearing of resolutions and aspirational plans, we understand immediately that we must yield to the unforeseen at times and see the beauty of the unexpected. So in the season when the landscape can seem somewhat bleaker with the leaves off the trees and the grass less green, we open our curtains in the morning to the sight of white on the roofs with the joy of a child and everyone seems eager to play. Time is a gift that snow brings to us. It allows us to have unexpected hours back in our possession. So we wait dutifully for our basket to buy food, and for the transportation to be running again, and in the meantime we practice patience and are thankful if we are fortunate to be with our loved ones on an unexpected day together.