Question 313 of 365: What is true accumulation?

I am heading into my 10th winter of living in Colorado. While this is not an accomplishment to many of the natives that live here, it is something that I cherish more than almost anything else. It means that I will have seen the best snow that exists for an entire decade. While I neither snowboard or ski, the snow is the single most convincing reason I came to Colorado in the first place.

Before moving, I lived in a suburb of Cleveland. I knew snow. I saw it coming off of lake Erie every year (for most of the year). I saw it dump into the snow belt and stick around for weeks. I saw it become muddy and black with cinders. I saw the snow turn into ice and cause enormous wrecks on the roads. I saw the individual snowflakes fall seemingly forever with only an inch to show for it in the morning.

Denver snow is different. It comes in beautiful and fluffy pieces. They fill your mouth as you walk toward them. They stick to your hair and they are heavy. They feel like a blanket is coming down all around you and all you have to do is stand still long enough for it to tuck you in. And Denver snow accumulates. In minutes. From the time your run into the gas station and come back, you have a single coat of fresh powder. From the time you go into work, you have a well earned workout of clearing it off and seeing the piles all around your feet. This snow is perfect. It is good for playing games about how much there will be. In these games you will always be wrong. You will always guess too little or at the wrong time. Colorado snow has a personality all its own. It doesn’t stop for any event and it doesn’t care what the temperature was yesterday. It was 75 yesterday. It is snowing gorgeous and downy today.

And when I look out my windows and see what is the start of the accumulation season, I know that I am in for a treat. I don’t have to hope for it or wish it to come. It comes without fail. I can see the layers of snow interweave and stack on top of one another, making inches and feet with abandon.

And I wonder about my own accumulation. I wonder if others can see the things I am doing and I wonder if they notice what I have added. It is coming slowly and it surely isn’t as beautiful as this, but I think that the clumps that I put down are sticking to the ground nicely. Someday, I will be at inches and someday after that, I will have feet of my contributions that others will simply have to work through. They won’t have a choice. It will cover them and those that choose to will only be able to shovel me out of the way. Others, though, will pick up those things and play with them. They will make sculptures and they will throw them around. They will make mountains out of it and see all around them. They will pack it tightly and throw it at those who don’t know how to enjoy it.

True accumulation is continuing to contribute because you know that no matter how small each snowflake is, you are making a difference and your work will be noticed.


  1. Anonymous

    Oftentimes our individual work isn’t noticed in our field. I learned as a young educator to view a child learning more, a colleague copying a teaching style or a lesson of mine, or other schools looking at my program as a model (even though no one may have ever said anything to me) as a pat on the back. Your snowflake (however small you may think it is as a foundation) will build into a blizzard in time. You just never know if you’ll hear about it or be around to observe it.

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