This time last year, Tulsa was buried under a blanket of snow. It was the most exciting weather event of the year! Schools, businesses, government agencies and the courts were closed for a week. For the youth, it was like Christmas all over again. For others, the snow caused much hardship, particularly for the elderly and home-bound, who had difficulty getting needed food, services and companionship. For our law students, feelings were mixed – getting a much needed break from class preparation was welcomed, but the thought of making up the classes was dreaded.
For me, the snow storm of 2011 was yet another gentle reminder that someone other than corporate America was dictating our day-to-day destiny. Honestly, each little white flake was a sense of relief. To watch inch upon inch of the white powder pile up against the garage, the driveway, and every entrance to our home was like receiving permission from a higher power to slow down and take in the peace and quiet of our natural environment. The soft white purity reflecting from the ground was a cleansing – a way of giving us all a clean slate. If you were like me, it was a time to tap into our senses, reflect, and appreciate the many things around us that we don’t notice on a normal day.
My sense is that snow days invite a renewed sensitivity for life in all of us. We turn our concern form work to our feathered friends, our families, pets, and our two-legged friends who may need help. We call each other (rather than texting) to make sure everyone is okay. We cook yummy family meals, sip wine around a cozy fire, and read ALL those books we have put aside for months. We plan family activities around sledding, shoveling snow, venturing out to the grocery store, and checking on grandparents. We pot-luck with friends and we go to bed early.
Do you remember the television show, “The Waltons”? “The Waltons” was a true story of a West Virginia family and their friends who pulled together through hard times with humor, love, and thankfulness. The episodes all seemed so civilized and charming – not really hard at all – no demand to rush, to buy, to out-perform, to exercise, to win, and no pressure to buy into the religious and political beliefs of the talking pundits. Pretty simple. Pretty nice.
So what does all this nostalgia have to do with law school, you ask? Not much, except that we, as lawyers, law students, and professionals, should heed to those Big Signs – whether it be a snow storm or a child’s request to tie a shoe – to slow down and appreciate life in its simplest form. Don’t let your work, your grades, or your possessions define you. Focus on those elements in your life that allow you to experience friendships, feel loved, show compassion for others, and be thankful. Despite all that you may perceive to be wrong with our world, we have much for which to be thankful.
- Martha Cordell, TU Law Assistant Dean for Student Affairs