It’s finally here!!!! The first snow of the year!! This blog post is my first after a while, so I’m making amends for my absence. I’m currently in my senior year as a conservatory student, which means graduate school is looming, and November is the month of pre-screen recordings. That means stress galore, sleepless nights, and many worries; I honestly don’t know how I’d have gotten through this Monday without the excitement of fresh snow.
We talked about snow in my orchestra sectional Monday night, and were pretty evenly split between people who loved snow, and people who strongly disliked the piles of powdery goodness. To everyone who belongs to the haters, I have a system to recommend. Simply find a way to celebrate whenever it snows! Curl up in your living quarters, know it’s cold outside, and bathe in the privilege of warmth and coziness. Make some special food or drinks, like hot chocolate, tea you’ve saved for special occasions, hot apple cider (maybe throw some spices in?). Spices work really well for hot chocolate by the way, too. My favorite hot chocolate recipe calls for dark chocolate melted in milk with some cinnamon and cayenne pepper hmmmm yumm.
This Monday I went all out and made some mulled wine poached pears (yes, I’m over 21), which I would highly recommend for anyone of age; it was the perfect snowy treat. Our apartment was filled with a pervasive scent of cinnamon, wine, and orange throughout the evening (but don’t forget the mandatory mascarpone cheese). Are you starting to get a sense of what a foodie I am? Well, yes, that is my preferred method for celebration, but for anyone that might not feel as connected to culinary delights, there’s plenty to do outside.
The conservatory found a new friend this morning in the form of a snowman sitting on a chair by the glass wall connecting Bibbins to Robertson, happily waving at anyone who walked by to go practice with his branches. So make a date with a friend and go build a snowman in a memorable place!
I think there’s also a tiny hill where people like to go sledding, but I haven’t found it yet. When I do, I'll let you all know...
Take a walk in the arb and find some stillness. Oberlin’s arb is a beautiful spot to go for a walk, with a little lake nestled at the edge of our woods. Snow has absorbent properties and swallows sound waves, which is why everything feels so quiet and peaceful when you’re in the midst of it. Stillness, as researcher Brene Brown says, is a vital part of mental health, so if you’re feeling stressed or bothered by something, don’t distract your head but go for a walk and clear it with the help of cold air and snowy silence.
Cold air is also scientifically proven to give your brain a boost, burn calories, decrease inflammation, and help you fall asleep faster. The sleeping one is particularly interesting, since our core body temperature decreases when we fall asleep, which can take up to two hours during the summer but happens much quicker in the winter.
However, if you’re reading this in Florida, or my hometown of Seattle, you might be wondering if it ever gets too cold to build snowmen and take walks, and what that’s like. The answer is yes, it does get that cold. I’d recommend getting a tube scarf that you can pull over your face, and not to worry too much. All the buildings on campus are quite close together, as is everything you might need within Oberlin. As long as you have a warm jacket, hat, winter boots, gloves, and a scarf you can also pull over your nose, you’ll be fine all winter long.
If you’re a music major you’ll be spending most of the day in the practice building Robertson anyway, which, despite endearing decrepitude, does have functional heating, a window where you can look out at the beautiful snow, and a Steinway for all your piano needs.
If all else fails, simply enjoy the sparkles and remember that every snowflake is a unique creation in and of its own.