There’s a lot to like about snow

Something to think about while shoveling it

By The Mercury

Folks have been talking about today’s snowfall for the better part of the last week, ever since TV weathercasters promised that it would be a big one. Their predictions — ranging from 8 to about 18 inches for the Manhattan area were impressive enough to approach apocalyptic.

Certainly the forecasts were impressive enough for Kansas State University to announce as early as midday Wednesday that it would be closed today. Other universities and schools across Kansas followed suit, though some administrators who woke this morning to find the ground bare might have wondered if they had jumped the gun. Not to worry; the snow came as promised.

So, on a day in which events and conversations are dominated by snow, we share the following thoughts and observations.

• What we like best about snow — this snow — is that it’s tangible precipitation. We’re in desperate need of moisture, and although some of us might have preferred a long soaking rain, we’ll take snowfall any day over freezing rain. 

• It’s beautiful. That it’s true of just about any snowfall that blankets the landscape doesn’t diminish the fact. It never gets old. And although we can almost feel the aches from shoveling before we pick those tools up, falling snow is one of nature’s silent blessings.

• It’s fun… well, for those who get to play in it. Whether the fun involves making snowmen or other intriguing sculptures doesn’t matter. Sledding also is a rare treat in Kansas, as are good (amicable) snowball fights. Heavy snow also brings out the cross-country skiers. Dogs love it as well, and their delight can’t help but make their owners smile.

Snow isn’t all fun, of course. It means work for homeowners — not all of whom are employed by public entities that shut down today. The dilemma for shovelers is whether to dig out from under a few inches every couple of hours or wait until it stops and then pay the price that comes with waiting.

Snow can also make driving tricky, though going slow does wonders. We hope motorists are exercising restraint. The fact that shoppers packed grocery stores on the eve of the storm indicated that they planned to do some hunkering down today. Good decision.

Whether we were able to stay home today or had to go to work, let’s tip our hat to the army of workers whose jobs involve ensuring that we were as safe as we could be. That roster includes emergency personnel, public health workers and the crews who were clearing snow from roads or otherwise making them more passable. Despite its beauty and other assets, it’s worth remembering that snow also can be treacherous.

Chances are, if you enjoyed your snow day or your inconveniences were minimized, some of those people had a hand in it.

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