Monday, February 15, 2021

Is there really no such thing as bad weather?

 There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing--so claim people who write from or about Scandinavian culture. If it's cold, just dress appropriately and go outside! Enjoy the beauty of nature in all weather and seasons!  

I have preached this message to friends and family, and I've often send my kids out into chilly weather for a quick run-around in the backyard before they come running back to the warmth inside. I personally enjoy a nice walk in brisk weather, as a slight chill nips my face and wakes me up. 

And yet. 

I huddle inside and watch the fluttering snow drift and sway above the ice-encrusted blades of grass. I dash outside only long enough to toss a bag of trash into the bin. I relish the crunch crunch of the ground under my boots, but I need to get inside. Yes, I am wearing "bad clothing" for this weather-shorts and a hooded sweatshirt do not lend themselves to tromping around in freezing temperatures-however, I also just want to be in the house. In the warmth, in the comfort. There's no such thing as bad weather, they say. 

However, I think we can romanticize and chant this mantra without thinking about an underlying factor that affects so many people who espouse friluftsliv in the winter: there is support for this endeavor. Cold weather clothing is readily available, it is culturally acceptable (even normal) to have babies nap outside, and many people ski together or frequent outdoor pools. While the cold weather can be a challenge for anyone, it's much easier to endure it if you are bolstered by a community. 

I have experienced this in my own life. Several weeks ago, on a chilly-but-not-freezing day, we met with another family at a park. That day, I had no motivation to get outside, and my kids hadn't wanted to go outside without me. Yet, because we were with friends, it was much easier (and fun) to run around in the chilly weather. 

As I look at the snow that has fallen since I began writing this post last week, I think about the communities in Nordic countries that embrace frigid winters, and I wonder what we can learn from them. I ponder how a strong community can strengthen and encourage us to persevere through trials. It can get us outdoors together when we'd otherwise sit inside all day and watch The Office alone. It can inspire us to work towards greater selflessness, because we are looking to the needs of others, and not just ourselves. 

I really do love snow, I just don't love
-5 degree temperatures.

Can we rise to this challenge and seek to build community? It's hard and requires effort and yes, will probably require that I change out of the pajamas that I've been wearing nonstop for two days. Yet,  stepping out of our comfort zones can be so beneficial. Community-building has certainly been tough since Covid-19 first struck, but it's vital. We need each other. 

Imagine: what would our neighborhoods, our cities, and our churches look like if we all worked intently to build community? 

I think about the early Christians, and their dedication to God and each other:

"They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles." (Acts 2:42-43)

Pondering their fervor for apostolic teachings and for Liturgy, and thinking about their zeal for community, I am encouraged to do more. To, in some small way, joyfully build community even when I'd rather be lazy and do nothing. And, I am encouraged to rejoice-because even while I am a total wimp when it comes to cold weather, God has created a beautiful world. 

"Frost and chill, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever. Hoarfrost and snow, bless the Lord; Praise and exalt him above all forever." (Dan 3:69-70)


  1. I love these reflections! Let's keep fighting to build community, even in these very difficult & isolating times.

  2. As someone whose ideal climate is a tropical island, I commend your encouragement to approach the cold with a better attitude. It makes total sense to weather those storms with others. I admire those who survive long, severe, winters because I might go crazy. Good reminder! And it’s so important to do life with others. That’s been so hard this last year but we all need it!