I took the photo of these beautiful snow-covered trees on April 23. Now, if it were December 23, people here in the Midwest would be ecstatic about four inches of snow and the prospect of a white Christmas. The fact that it was not December, but April, matters because I respond completely differently to late April snow. Even as I sit here in the coffee shop today – May 3 – it is snowing again. I am tired of it.
Context is defined in dictionary.com as:
1. the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.
2. the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
It is primarily the second definition that I am referring to – the circumstances that surround this late spring snowfall. The calendar and weather are the circumstances: December versus April; winter snow instead of spring rain. In one set of circumstances, this particular event would have delighted me. In another, more snow just makes me irritable.
I am reminded of Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, where he says that, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” In this case, I cannot change the situation; I can’t change either the calendar that tells me that lilacs should be blooming or the weather pattern that is creating the snow.
So that leaves changing myself. Sigh. No matter how hard I try, I cannot come up with another alternative that relieves my gloom. I can either create my own destiny or let circumstances create it for me.
Perhaps, when I get home this afternoon, I could dig out my winter coat, hat, mittens and boots, and take a walk while pretending it is December and I am all excited about this snow.
This changing myself instead of changing the situation will probably take some practice.