It’s one of those times when, because it’s all around me – physically manifested on the ground, talked about on the news, the topic of most conversations around the old water cooler – it’s kind of hard to get it out of my head. So, since Mother Nature is still on a snow kick, so, too, apparently, am I.
My brother contacted me after my post the other day regarding throwing snowballs at memories and said that he remembered that particular incident and further stated (sorry bro…spillin’ your secrets here) that it was not the only time he’d engaged in that particular activity. He further stated he was pretty certain it was the only time that he managed to convince me to engage in it, too. I was right in remembering I was not the one to come up with the harebrained idea.
All of this – everything from the weather itself to remembering my brother’s goofball idea of fun – got me thinking about other winter activities I engaged in while I was young.
- I used to walk outside (and still do, sometimes) barefooted…in the snow…just to see what it felt like. It’s a quick, shocking cold, but not an altogether unpleasant one. And the snow feels good. It is kind of like very cold sand between your toes. One observation is that flash-frozen toes actually warm up rather quickly.
- I remember the snow-blower my father used to clear our driveway, sidewalks and paths. A big, loud, red, spinning, monster machine that ate up the snow and spit it out in a cyclonic fury leaving giant piles of snow in its wake. My brother and I used to dig tunnels and forts in those piles and line them with black, plastic trash bags for insulation. We’d be absolutely frozen, but we had a ball. The best part was when we finally made two opposing tunnels connect. It was like discovering a treasure.
- I remember making orange snow slush (no, not yellow snow – getcher mind right) and eating it with a long-handled, stainless steel spoon. We’d get plastic cups and fill them – packed tight – with freshly fallen snow. It had to be fresh or it was of questionable edibility. Then, we’d pour orange juice on top and marvel at how the concoction would stick to the stainless steel spoon.
- I remember a back yard full of snow angels, footprints (child and dog), and thickly reinforced fort walls used for shelter during snowball fights.
- I remember the entire neighborhood - all the local kids - gathering at the elementary school down the street for sledding. Hours and hours of hauling our various sledding implements of choice up hill and whizzing down, again and again and again until no amount of hot chocolate, no fire too hot, no clothes or homes too warm could thaw our frozen, elated bodies.
Snow now, as an adult, is so much different. I wish I still could enjoy it with the innocence and enthusiasm of a child – of my children – but mostly it just annoys me now. Oh, it’s beautiful to look at, don’t get me wrong, but all the things that it are affected by it (school/business/bank closings, bad roads, sketchy driving conditions, power outages, frozen pipes) that interfere with adult life have taken some of the magic out of a good snowfall. I need to remember now, when my kids want me to play outside with them in the snow, that it’s not about me anymore. Who cares if I no longer own any waterproof winter boots, snow-pants or gloves? I’m from North; I’m made of stronger stuff than that. Come on…gimme whatcha got. (Wait, actually, don’t. I’m kinda done.)