Phil Garber
5 min readFeb 1, 2021



Wonder of Nature

I look out the bedroom window and ask myself how much more of this horrible snow will come down and I have no good answer as I wonder if the snow will ever stop or will I simply be snowed over and in forever or until the thaw when they’ll find me dead and semi-frozen with an IPA in my hand and a handwritten note that asks whoever finds me to please tell all that at least I tried and let them figure out what my cryptic note meant, if anything.

In my rational mind, I know the snowflakes will eventually stop falling like frozen tears and the sun will come out brilliantly and the snow will melt and the season will change and the leaves will come out in all their colorful glory and the birds of every stripe will sing and the temperature will climb and I will be able to have a cookout but then my irrational, fearful, paranoid mind tells me that the snow will never end and that I will be buried by a thousand feet deep snow and my food supplies will slowly dwindle and all that will remain is a can of anchovies and the heat will go off because I didn’t pay the oil bill and I will go painfully almost imperceptibly mad because the TV no longer works and I realize that I have no books left that I haven’t already read four times each and I can no longer charge my phone and I starve to death as the next great ice age befalls us. It could happen.

The weather is a very confounding thing because no matter what you do, you can’t change it. Years ago, I challenged the snow gods after it had piled up more than two feet deep and much deeper and higher in drifts and the weather report predicted the snow would continue indefinitely and an emergency was declared to keep cars and foolish motorists, like me, off the road. So I drove from my office in Chester, turned on to Route 206 and promptly slid the car deep into a snow bank on the shoulder, all the while feeling enveloped by a totally powerless feeling that comes when sliding deep into a snow bank and I tried in vain to shift the car back and forth, using the gas and the break intermittently and you know how that turned out. I had no option but surrender so I got out of the car and realized that I should have listened to the warnings about driving in the snow and that it was likely going to take me more than the 20 minutes it normally took to drive home. This surreal trip would take seven hours and it tested my sanity and my will to press ahead although I really had no other choices if I wanted to ever get home and watch TV. I started hitchhiking and got a ride part of the way and got another ride part of the way and I realized I was further from home than when I started. But eventually it all worked out and I stumbled into my homestead exhausted, cold, wet and terribly upset and stupid that I hadn’t listened to the warnings about driving in the snow. And then I realized that I had left my car stuck in a snow bank 20 miles away and had to figure out some way to retrieve it the next day and get along with my life.

So I wait and I watch and I watch and I wait and still the snow falls and I wonder if I will be able to shovel the driveway but then I realize that would result in either an incapacitating back injury or death and neither is very attractive so I will wait out the snow and flag down a plow to help out. There was a time when I would never stoop so low as to pay somebody to shovel the driveway clean but I now understand after a great deal of thought that life is more important than the $40 it will cost for the plow, although I may reconsider that decision.

So I will ponder the existential meaning of all of this and I realize that I have options and that I and I alone will decide if I will feel as if I am a prisoner or not and that as long as I am trapped without options I should make the best of a bad situation but then I realize that it wouldn’t be right to start drinking beer so early in the day as I am not a proponent of the adage that it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and I slowly come to grips with the reality that I cannot go outside and that my fate is being determined by forces totally out of my control and then I realize that I’m not sure if I’m thinking of the pandemic or of the snow as they both carry the same effects.

Will I make snow angels and snowmen crafted with bodies that grew from small snowballs when rolled over the snow to become huge or will I make an igloo big enough to climb into or maybe sled down the mountain or start a snow ball fight or maybe just hike through the woods and listen to how peaceful and quite it is and marvel over how, yes, every snowflake is unique, never to be duplicated? No.

I am not going mad and I do know that soon the snow will be gone and I will still be trapped inside because of the COVID19 pandemic so, yes, there is always a silver lining and yes, the glass is not half empty but half full and yes, I can’t see my car anymore in the driveway, but hey, I could be living in Buffalo and be quarantined at the same time so it could always be worse and probably will be and yet I hold on to my persistent, undaunted optimism with the thought that somewhere the sun is shining and somehow, some way I will make it there, maybe.

And now I will leave you with quotes that are as beautiful as they are trite and maudlin:

“With every falling flake, a unique spark of interest falls from heaven.” P. Miller

“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on.’ Carol Rifka Brunt.

“Snow was falling so much like stars filling the dark trees that one could easily imagine its reason for being was nothing more than prettiness.” Mary Oliver.

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” Henry David Thoreau.

“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.” Kahlil Gibran.

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” Andy Goldsworthy.

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” Aristotle.

“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.” Unknown.



Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer