Monday, February 7, 2011
I have to say, this has been a pretty amazing winter, if you’re a snow lover. I’m one of those crazy people who thinks every storm is exciting. Well, I think every snow storm is exciting. If there is any ice involved, I’m out. I’ll take twelve inches of fluffy snow over one inch of ice any day. Ice makes me fall down and I don’t fall down gracefully. Bad things happen when I fall down.
But give me a driveway full of new snow and I am in awe. A fresh, white blanket of newness to cover up my pot hole ridden driveway. No grass to mow, or flower beds to weed. Just a beautiful white cover over every surface.
I sometimes wonder if my fascination with snow comes from my upbringing in the Midwest. In the middle of Missouri we never got a lot of snow. Every winter we’d dream of a big snow fall but end up having to make do with a few inches, if we were lucky.
Every few years a big one might fall, usually in March, and we’d romp and play in it non-stop, until it inevitably melted away in a day or two. Missouri winters are known for being bitter cold one day and balmy and spring- like the next.
It was a reassuring sign to me that a huge snowfall came on the night I said yes to a marriage proposal. We almost got snowed into the car we were sitting in when he popped the question. Snow fell so deep around us we barely got the car doors open.
Then, for the first time in decades, the college shut down the next day. We told all of our friends the school closing was in honor of our big announcement. Just another reason why I will always be in love with that sparkly white stuff that falls in the winter.
When we moved our young family to Washington D.C. we didn’t really expect a snowy winter. But of course that was the year D.C. got their record snow falls. Two feet came in one storm. The kids had five straight days of snow days. The city was paralyzed and we made snow families that filled up the yard. I loved every minute.
Then our next move was to Utah. The state motto is engraved on the license plates - “Greatest Snow on Earth”. Apparently, a state that was made for me. Indeed we had perfect snow in the three years we lived there. We moved in August and by Halloween night, the first flakes were falling from the sky. The yard was covered in a white blanket until Easter. The kids learned to ski and, because season ski passes were dirt cheap for residents, we had them on the slopes every weekend. Only more reasons to love snow.
Now we’re in New York. The first year we were here, there were back to back huge storms in February. The kids helped their dad build a snow ramp off the garage roof. They were able to break out the skis and practice their skills right here at home. What followed were a few winters of lighter precipitation. We started to get worried that New York was going to turn into another Missouri - with snow falls few and far between. Then this winter rolled along.
I’ve successfully brain washed three of my four children into being snow lovers too. My only girl prefers a good beach to a frozen tundra, thank you very much. But while she’s curled up under a blanket, her brothers are usually outside, finding some kind of fun in the snow.
My single request every winter is for one big snow man. I spent my childhood dreaming of having enough snow to make a decent sized snow guy, complete with coal for eyes and a carrot nose. Most years the boys will oblige and build me a quick one before they run off to do their own thing, and this year they wisely positioned him right outside my office window. He makes me happy every time I look outside.
Some years we’re all about sledding. The boys make ramps and jumps and do everything they can to earn a cast or stitches before the winter months end. Sometimes they drag their sleds out to our woods, shooting themselves down trails as they weave between trees, increasing their chances for injuries.
This year, the year of endless snow storms, is also the year of the snow fort. They began as our driveway became flanked by five foot high banks of snow. It was easy to carve out cubbies, great places to hide for the massive snow ball fight.
Then a larger crevice was carved out, big enough for three lawn chairs.
Soon it was covered by the biggest tarp we own, held up by strategically placed ski poles. An inevitable next step was to run an extension cord out to a music player. Lamps were strung up, windows carved out, and they had created a downright comfy little dwelling.
Of course I took tons of pictures, shots that we’ll hardly believe in July, when we’re wearing shorts and sandals and hoping to catch a cool breeze.
Because that’s the most special part of snow. It will only come certain times of the year. You can’t make it come, you just have to wait until it’s ready to fall. It’s not a given, even in typically snowy states. So when it shows up, all sparkly and magical, you have to make yourself step back and take it in. It can bring special memories and miraculous moments, if you’ll give it a chance.
So take the pictures while you can. Before you know it, it will be gone. Grass will grow again and seasons will change. And we’ll all sit around in our lawn chairs, drinking lemonade and wiping our brows, reminiscing about snow men and frosty forts.