Perspective: Decisions in the Snow

The instinct to keep your options open with a shovel, bread, and milk


Alix Felsing


Priorities. Benefits. Risks. 

Consciously or unconsciously, we take them into consideration whenever we make decisions. 

As I write this, the region’s first winter storm of the season has stopped blowing freezing rain and sleet against the windows. The ice on our crape myrtle trees has oozed around to the underside of the branches and turned into small, dripping icicles. The gutters gurgle, which tells me it’s warm enough to melt whatever’s on the roof.

I value electricity and heat pretty highly right now, knowing that thousands have already lost power and more are likely to. After a quick walk to explore, I choose to work while I still have power and internet. The uncertainty has sharpened my focus because my options may be limited later. 

In northeastern Wisconsin, where I grew up, keeping options open meant keeping the driveway clear. My family’s routine was to shovel snow together, and we did it every hour during blizzards. It’s much easier and faster to move a few inches of snow at a time than to move a foot of snow all at once. 

Newcomers from Buffalo, N.Y., and other northern cities with heavy snowfall find it astonishing that a forecast of winter weather prompts Charlotteans to rush out to buy bread and milk. 

Next time you have a decision to make, ask yourself: 

» What are your values?

» What incentives motivate you?

» What costs are you willing—or unwilling—to pay?

How do the answers change your next step? 

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