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We went through a few bad ass winter storms here in the Northeast over the past few weeks. I was one of those idiots running in the snowstorm and tromping around hiking trails to soak it all up. Something about perseverance when confronted with a whole lot of “you shouldn’t do that” is appealing.

Winter’s always brought that out of me, what can I say?

A Walk in the Park

The crazy snow storm we had the last week was particularly exciting. It was a genuine Nor’easter, the kind of storm I remember from when I was a kid. We decided to take the dogs out for a walk in it. They love playing in the snow just as much as I do. Hell, they might enjoy it more.

We stepped foot in the park just as the winds and snows really hit their groove, pounding down the heaviest and hardest snow. It was an act of perseverance just to reach the park, but we made it. One foot in front of the other, keep your head down and soldier on, all that jazz.

We let the dogs go. They bounded around, caught snowballs, acted like the delightfully dumb animals they are. Then we heard the cracking.

It almost sounded like somebody snapping into a Slim Jim, if a Slim Jim was the size of a telephone pole. But it wasn’t a piece of jerky, nah; these were tree limbs collapsing under the weight of the snow.

I’m talking massive limbs, a foot in diameter and thirty feet long that came crashing to the ground. It was intimidating to be surrounded by dozens of mature trees groaning and cracking under the stress of the snow, these trees that spent decades growing strong. Trees need that stress to grow strong, but even with all that growing it took one heavy snowfall to send their limbs crashing to the ground.

We left the park in a hurry once the sky started falling, but the thought of a bit of snowfall snapping full-grown limbs stuck to my mind. Probably because I could hear the echo of branches collapsing while I walked home.

That’s A Lot of Snowflakes

Do you know how many snowflakes are in a pound? According to a bit of research, it looks like there are about 23,000 snowflakes per pound of snow.

Obviously a few snowflakes aren’t gonna do shit to a full-grown tree branch, but you start piling up a few hundred thousand? Maybe a few million? That sucker is coming down. Plain as that.

It isn’t a stretch to imagine snowflakes are single actions, and a snowball is a collection of combined efforts, and then the tremendous poundage needed to tear down a tree limb is a concentrated endeavor.

The only way we’re going to get past some BS in our lives is to constantly attack it, a little bit of our effort at a time. Want to quit smoking? You’ve got to hit that shit relentlessly, let your efforts pile up even as you puff your life away, and eventually those thousands of thoughts and efforts are going to accumulate to a crushing weight that tears it down.

Don’t Give Up

That’s what it really comes down. All of the crap we have to deal with, the failed efforts and the hundreds and thousands of attempts to change and improve ourselves seem worthless, like it’s a hopeless battle. But don’t give up. It’s really that simple. Keep on truckin’, as the Grateful Dead said.

A single effort can feel like a waste, but add those efforts up and you’ll be tearing shit down left and right. Just keep at it.

Matt Suwak
About the Author

Matt Suwak was reared by the bear and the bobcat and the coyote of rural Pennsylvania. This upbringing keeps him permanently affixed to the outdoors where most of his personal time is invested in bird watching and hiking. He presently resides in Philadelphia and works during the day as a landscaper and gardener, and by night a freelance writer. He can throw a football ten miles from a stationary position and has grappled mountain lions and lived to tell about it. The lions cannot say the same.

His other writing can be found at www.heyplantguy.com

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