When everyday life grinds to a sudden halt, how do you respond to the frozen world? Your reaction to these rare moments of absolute peace can tell you so much about yourself.
The blizzard begins in earnest on Sunday afternoon. By evening, the heavy covering of snow leaves all around me silent, becalmed. Life’s relentless forward motion stilled in an instant.
I wake next day into a frozen world. Just as a photograph freezes a moment in time, heavy snowfall makes the world feel frozen in an unending single moment.
I have lived in this part of East Sussex for nearly a decade. This is only the second snowfall of any meaningful amount in all that time. There will in all probability not be a white Christmas here. But for most of the past week, the snow has draped this part of the world in a frozen and gleaming coat of purest white.
This is but a pause in the frantic ways of the world. When everyday life grinds to a sudden halt, how do you respond to the frozen world?
A form of self-doubt
Making my way through this frozen world on my pre-dawn walk, my progress slows to a fraction of its usual pace. Where the snow has frozen solid or become compacted, ice (and worse, occasional black ice) renders each step on this familiar route treacherous.
Walking is usually as simple, as automatic as breathing. But in the frozen world, this familiar activity suddenly feels alien, challenging.
A form of self-doubt creeps in. You only realise the confidence and ease with which you put one foot in front of the other when the certainty of the ground beneath you is taken away. Self-doubt is an unwelcome companion in so many lives. Think of everyone you know and interact with on a regular basis. It is probable that frequent self-doubt plagues more of those lovely souls than you would ever dream.
But if you walk through this frozen world with concentration and perseverance, you might find a way to accommodate this form of self-doubt. You might even be able to move past it, as your confidence in this new and deliberate approach builds with each successive stride.
Even slowed to the pace of a particularly reluctant snail, life’s relentless forward motion can continue.
To pause and reflect
The world might feel frozen in an unending single moment. But it is important to remember that this is but a moment, one which too shall pass (as moments tend to).
Faced with the frozen world, you might choose – or feel that have no choice but – to pause and reflect. You might find a way to enjoy this rare opportunity to take a step back from life’s relentless forward motion.
With the frantic pace of life’s relentless forward motion, allowing yourself the time to slow to the pace of the frozen world can give rise to feelings of guilt. But why should this be? When life gives you the opportunity to pause and reflect, why not do so with gratitude? I came across some wise words on this very topic the other day, via a lovely tweet from Dez Blanchfield:
“It has always been my view, in life, that there exists the opportunity to give yourself permission to pause, contemplate, and ponder all manner of things, for no purpose other than simply because you can, and ergo perhaps should, if only for yourself.”
Even the weak winter sun will melt this frozen world soon enough. Why not spare a moment to glory in its fleeting stillness and beauty while you can?
When everyday life grinds to a sudden halt, how do you respond to the frozen world?
How do you respond to this world?
May you be nothing but kind today, to others and to yourself.
May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.
- Art-studies from nature, as applied to design – for the use of architects, designers, and manufacturers (1872) (14593679549) via Wikimedia Commons.
- Frozen world photographs taken by MJCarty between Sunday 11 December and Wednesday 14 December 2022.