Un texte de Sarah Cobb

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Publié le : 27 février 2024

Dernière mise à jour : 27 février 2024


Every snowflake is just a cluster of ice or water that forms around a microscopic piece of dust or smoke or pollution.


The new year is just past and thankfully the questions about whether I have made any new year’s resolutions have gone with it. In my fatalistic, glass-half-empty brain, the process requires finding fault in myself (something I find all too easy) and thinking up ways of improving (which usually last until the second of January or the first time I’m offered a glass of wine, whichever comes first). What follows is what you’d expect — feeling like a failure, pity party, cue the bad habits and bob’s your uncle. 

My hubby and I try to go for a walk up in the PENS at least once a week. Our default hike is Lac Spruce and if we’re feeling a bit more energetic we take on one of the longer trails. Our walks usually begin with us both feeling cranky and annoyed to be there but after about fifteen minutes the irritation gradually mellows into resignation, followed almost without fail by a growing sense of calm and gratitude. This week, watching the very welcome snowflakes drift down around us it occurred to me that I should be thinking like a snowflake.

Each and every snowflake, along with each and every raindrop, is just a cluster of ice or water that forms around a microscopic piece of dust or smoke or pollution. For a snowflake to form, an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto one of these particles in the clouds. The molecular makeup of this seed crystal makes it attractive to others and they glom onto each other. When the mass is substantial enough it falls from the sky. 

If you’ve ever looked closely at a snowflake you already know that it’s true that no two are alike. That is because each one makes its way along its own unique path to earth. It is also true that you’d be hard-pressed to find or invent a more perfect creation. A hexagon with flourish that pleases the eye with its symmetry, elegance, singularity. They are ethereal delicacy and yet they fall 10,000 feet before alighting on the tip of your nose. The journey only makes them more exquisite. 

Clomping around in the wintery woods, the collection of all these snowflakes — the pillowy blanket of snow that lay around us — brought light. It hushed the noises in my head, connected my footsteps to every bit of moss, every trunk, every creature.

Perhaps instead of struggling to change something about myself every year, I thought, I could try to take a speck of dust — some element of myself that I find distasteful or shameful or ugly — and turn it into something beautiful. Not by trying to get rid of it but using it as a framework to build something of worth. 

Many years ago, I had a co-worker who drove me to distraction. We did not speak the same language. Our approach to every shared task was so different that it seemed we spent more time trying to explain our plan to each other than actually doing the work. Our communication was so laboured and frustrating that collaborating with him was painful.

One day, I decided to try a new approach. To fake it. It felt a little weird at first. But I started paying him extra attention, expressing a sincere interest in his life, really endeavouring to engage. Pretty soon he responded in kind, showing me more warmth, spending time asking questions, being curious about me. Before I knew it the positive feedback loop began to pay off. We went from being antagonists to being friends who genuinely enjoyed working together. My intolerance, my impatience, my judgement had morphed into respect, fondness, camaraderie.

So rather than shedding this year, I am going to focus on attracting. Attracting beauty, positivity, community. I am going to turn my dust into snowflakes.

Sarah Cobb