The Magic of Snow

Sunday, January 31, 2021. The last day of January. It’s 28 degrees outside, has just started snowing and is predicted to keep snowing until early Tuesday morning. Depending on where the heavy snow band sets up we can get anywhere from 8 to 14 inches. That’s a big storm for us! Whenever we get a snow storm like this it always makes me feel like a kid getting a snow day. I was going to wax poetic about it all and remembered that I have written about snow a few times in the past. This post was from two years ago and sums up how I’m feeling. Except for the first sentence, it all applies.

If you are getting this storm, stay safe. Do you have favorite snow memories?

If you are reading this in a warm and sunny place enjoy a little winter. And thanks for stopping by!

As I wait for the third snow storm in three days I was feeling a bit done with it all. For some reason I began to reminisce about how I felt about snow as a kid. I wrote down a bunch of memories and by the end of it I realized that snow really is amazing and how sad it is that as adults all we worry about is the shoveling, trying to drive and lost work time. It’s been a very gloomy, long winter around here and since I felt cheered up by the end of reliving my childhood memories of snow, I thought I would share some of them here and maybe you too can remember the magic of snow. (There’s no promise that I will enjoy shoveling later!)

In trying to remember my earliest memories of snow the first thing that comes to mind is looking out the window and seeing white snowflakes falling from the sky. How amazing is that? If you’ve never seen that before it is a beautiful sight. Or waking in the morning to a white and softened world? Did my parents know it was going to snow and didn’t tell me so it was a wonderful surprise? I am still surprised by how the world is transformed by snow.

As a kid the excitement burst throughout my whole body. Snow! Running to the kitchen and eating something quickly so I could start the long process of dressing for hours of playing in the snow.

Putting on the warmest pants or maybe two pairs. A turtleneck sweater and shirt over that. Two pairs of socks. Snow pants which made a loud swishing noise when you walked because they were so thick the legs rubbed against each other. A thick snow coat which made it hard to bend your arms. A hat and mittens that Mom had knitted. They were thick and warm and quickly got heavy and soggy wet, but she always had another dry pair waiting to switch out. Boots. They were rubber boots that had a flap you pulled over to the side with an elastic loop to put over the big button to hold them shut. They never kept the snow from getting inside and melting but they were the best we had. And when they leaked, we would put plastic bags over our socks to keep our feet dry longer. Dressed in all of that, we were ready to go outside.

The excitement of those first steps in the snow. How deep was it? Was it dry and light or heavy and wet? We liked the heavier kind as kids because you could make anything out of it. Snowmen, snowballs, snow forts and one year I made a whole snow village with a bunch of simple rectangular houses all around a half a foot high and probably a foot long. Small roads connected them all. Working on them for so long I remember being so cold that even my knees felt frozen from crawling on the ground.

I remember feeling like I could make anything out of snow. Being lost in the moment and not feeling the cold until eventually my body was screaming that I had to go in and get warm. Then suddenly feeling it and going inside for lunch which hopefully included hot chocolate. Toes numb and then tingly and then incredibly itchy as they thawed. After being inside long enough to feel toasty again, we would bundle up and do it all over again.

Another huge thrill was going sledding somewhere. The first sleds we had were the traditional Flexible Flyer. Metal runners with wooden slats to sit or lie on. A rope was tied to the cross-piece and you could steer it by pulling on one side or the other. Those sleds were fast in the right conditions and if you were really daring you would lie on your stomach, head first and feel like you were going a million miles an hour! They were very heavy to pull back up the hill. Later we had plastic sleds in a variety of configurations. The saucer which was wicked fast and no way to steer it. Then the thin sheet of plastic sleds which you pulled the front up by holding the handle giving it a toboggan shape. That was super fast too and you felt every bump, rock or stick as you slid over it. Eventually we had the molded plastic sleds which were a bit thicker and more comfortable to ride in with handles to hold onto. Steering involved leaning in the direction you wanted to go. It was never a guarantee. You always hoped you ended up where you wanted to.

We became experts of snow conditions and which sled worked best. Heavy, icy snow; the Flexible Flyer. Light dry snow of only an inch or two, the plastic sheet sled. A few inches of almost any kind of snow, the molded plastic sled. And the saucer was best for the soft powdery kind because you always had to bail out of it to prevent crashing into someone or something.

I remember going to a golf course where there were a lot of people sledding. The thrill of sitting at the top of a steep hill on that sled, being pushed really hard by my dad. It wasn’t just a push. It was the back and forward to build up power and excitement. The one, two, three! And I was heading downhill like a rocket!

We had to help shovel snow too which wasn’t as much fun but it was all part of a snow day. And again, if the conditions were right we would build snow forts from the snow piled next to the driveway. Digging holes and tunnels, stopping to eat the snow every now and then looking over our snow kingdom. After the forts were done, the snowball fights. I usually got laughing too hard to be very good at aiming.

And even as a kid, just sitting and listening to the blanket of silence that only comes from a good snow fall. If it was still snowing and nobody else was outside, feeling like the world was contained in that moment of crisp cold air and snowflakes melting on your face.

The world and nature were amazing.

I need to hold on to that feeling later today and tonight when I’m out shoveling. Maybe I can catch some of that magic again.

The Magic of Snow

As I wait for the third snow storm in three days I was feeling a bit done with it all. For some reason I began to reminisce about how I felt about snow as a kid. I wrote down a bunch of memories and by the end of it I realized that snow really is amazing and how sad it is that as adults all we worry about is the shoveling, trying to drive and lost work time. It’s been a very gloomy, long winter around here and since I felt cheered up by the end of reliving my childhood memories of snow, I thought I would share some of them here and maybe you too can remember the magic of snow. (There’s no promise that I will enjoy shoveling later!)

In trying to remember my earliest memories of snow the first thing that comes to mind is looking out the window and seeing white snowflakes falling from the sky. How amazing is that? If you’ve never seen that before it is a beautiful sight. Or waking in the morning to a white and softened world? Did my parents know it was going to snow and didn’t tell me so it was a wonderful surprise? I am still surprised by how the world is transformed by snow.

As a kid the excitement burst throughout my whole body. Snow! Running to the kitchen and eating something quickly so I could start the long process of dressing for hours of playing in the snow.

Putting on the warmest pants or maybe two pairs. A turtleneck sweater and shirt over that. Two pairs of socks. Snow pants which made a loud swishing noise when you walked because they were so thick the legs rubbed against each other. A thick snow coat which made it hard to bend your arms. A hat and mittens that Mom had knitted. They were thick and warm and quickly got heavy and soggy wet, but she always had another dry pair waiting to switch out. Boots. They were rubber boots that had a flap you pulled over to the side with an elastic loop to put over the big button to hold them shut. They never kept the snow from getting inside and melting but they were the best we had. And when they leaked, we would put plastic bags over our socks to keep our feet dry longer. Dressed in all of that, we were ready to go outside.

The excitement of those first steps in the snow. How deep was it? Was it dry and light or heavy and wet? We liked the heavier kind as kids because you could make anything out of it. Snowmen, snowballs, snow forts and one year I made a whole snow village with a bunch of simple rectangular houses all around a half a foot high and probably a foot long. Small roads connected them all. Working on them for so long I remember being so cold that even my knees felt frozen from crawling on the ground.

I remember feeling like I could make anything out of snow. Being lost in the moment and not feeling the cold until eventually my body was screaming that I had to go in and get warm. Then suddenly feeling it and going inside for lunch which hopefully included hot chocolate. Toes numb and then tingly and then incredibly itchy as they thawed. After being inside long enough to feel toasty again, we would bundle up and do it all over again.

Another huge thrill was going sledding somewhere. The first sleds we had were the traditional Flexible Flyer. Metal runners with wooden slats to sit or lie on. A rope was tied to the cross-piece and you could steer it by pulling on one side or the other. Those sleds were fast in the right conditions and if you were really daring you would lie on your stomach, head first and feel like you were going a million miles an hour! They were very heavy to pull back up the hill. Later we had plastic sleds in a variety of configurations. The saucer which was wicked fast and no way to steer it. Then the thin sheet of plastic sleds which you pulled the front up by holding the handle giving it a toboggan shape. That was super fast too and you felt every bump, rock or stick as you slid over it. Eventually we had the molded plastic sleds which were a bit thicker and more comfortable to ride in with handles to hold onto. Steering involved leaning in the direction you wanted to go. It was never a guarantee. You always hoped you ended up where you wanted to.

We became experts of snow conditions and which sled worked best. Heavy, icy snow; the Flexible Flyer. Light dry snow of only an inch or two, the plastic sheet sled. A few inches of almost any kind of snow, the molded plastic sled. And the saucer was best for the soft powdery kind because you always had to bail out of it to prevent crashing into someone or something.

I remember going to a golf course where there were a lot of people sledding. The thrill of sitting at the top of a steep hill on that sled, being pushed really hard by my dad. It wasn’t just a push. It was the back and forward to build up power and excitement. The one, two, three! And I was heading downhill like a rocket!

We had to help shovel snow too which wasn’t as much fun but it was all part of a snow day. And again, if the conditions were right we would build snow forts from the snow piled next to the driveway. Digging holes and tunnels, stopping to eat the snow every now and then looking over our snow kingdom. After the forts were done, the snowball fights. I usually got laughing too hard to be very good at aiming.

And even as a kid, just sitting and listening to the blanket of silence that only comes from a good snow fall. If it was still snowing and nobody else was outside, feeling like the world was contained in that moment of crisp cold air and snowflakes melting on your face.

The world and nature were amazing.

I need to hold on to that feeling later today and tonight when I’m out shoveling. Maybe I can catch some of that magic again.

The Gift of Snow Geese

First let me thank Myer Bornstein for giving me permission to use his wonderful photos. Please visit him at http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index to see more of his amazing work.

I’ve never been keen about winter. I just don’t want to deal with the extra stress that winter makes me feel. I keep trying to find good things about winter. Just last week I went on a nice long walk and really enjoyed the crisp air and the peaceful quiet. Of course that day it was almost 40 out, sunny and no wind or harsh weather to deal with. And I did find beauty and was thrilled to share some time with a hawk sitting on a branch next to the path.

The other day was one of those winter days that fills me with stress. I went to bed the night before knowing that I would either wake to snow, a mix of snow/sleet/ice/rain, or rain. I was really hoping for a snow day. Of course, adult snow days aren’t as magical because you know you still have bills to pay and shoveling to do. But I still hope for it.

It wasn’t to be. I woke to a couple of inches of slush. And it was raining on top of it all. There was none of the beauty of a pristine snowy morning. It a morning of grays and cold and damp. The worst. I resigned myself to the reality of slogging my way to work.

I shoveled and moved the slush to keep the rain water from seeping into the garage. And as I made drain paths down the driveway in the pouring, ice cold rain I kept thoughts at bay since there were no positive ones.

I can drive in snow and even find it kind of a fun challenge. I can drive in rain and usually my only annoyance is when people don’t slow down enough and I have to deal with their bad driving. But I have grown to be terrified of ice. I don’t care how many wheeled-drive you have, nothing is going to help you on a sheet of ice. Luckily I didn’t have to deal with that. Yet.

The drive to work was a mess. Lots of rivers of water on the roads and I watched the potholes growing before my eyes. After having to slow and/or stop for flooding and showers of slush as cars flew by the opposite way I finally made it to work.

My new waterproof boots have paid for themselves this winter as I tried to avoid the deepest of the puddles and slush. I got into the building, grabbed the shovel and ice melt and cleared the walks and ramp there. At least it wasn’t pouring anymore. Just a bone-chilling drizzle.

Finally, I got inside, soaking in the warmth of the heat, ready to have a nice day, only to hear that we were now under a Flash Freeze advisory. I don’t remember hearing that one before. Now people were rushing to get errands done before everything freezes. The kids were sent home early from school. The roads were still mini rivers. And my stress level was growing.

My wonderful boss lives a block away and said I could leave early. She would stay for the rest of the day. I secretly felt embarrassed at my cowardly fear but I wasn’t being proud that day. I left.

When I got in my car the thermometer said 35. Good. By the time I had driven only a few feet, the wind was gusting and the temperature dropped another degree. Now I just wanted to get home as quickly as I could. All I could focus on was beating the ice.

There was a lot of traffic in the usually sleepy rural area I drive through. Apparently word had gotten out and I wasn’t the only one hoofing it for home! The roads were marginally better than the morning but I was still busy keeping out of the deepest water and dodging the ever-growing potholes.

I reached the worst part of my commute which is a large, long, exposed hill that always drifts with snow, fills with rain water or freezes instantly. I felt like a reverse downhill skier dodging the obstacles all the way up. I made it to the top and the temperature was now 33.

Then something wonderful happened.

Copyright Myer Bornstein http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index

Snow Geese: Copyright Myer Bornstein http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index

There was a slight break in the clouds, the sun came out and my eyes were drawn above to a huge flock of Snow Geese. The sun was reflecting off of their bright white feathers, which were glowing and sparkling. They were flying against the gusts of wind, together as a beautiful community. The sudden bright light of them was breathtaking with the sky behind them almost black. I felt as if I had been given a wonderful gift. I kept sneaking quick glances at them while also keeping an eye on the road.

Copyright Myer Bornstein http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index

Copyright Myer Bornstein http://www.photobee1.com/#!/index

I felt my tension ease and I made it home safe and sound. Just ahead of the ice.

I am one of those people who believes in signs and always tries to find the meaning of things. I think things happen for a reason if we only choose to look and see.

Because I love the meanings of things I had to see what Snow Geese meant. The first sentence in a book I have about such things says, “This is a time of good fortune, so be receptive to and appreciative of all the good things that come to you.” And the last line says, “Even though it may not always appear to be so, you’re very well protected.”

I was. And I am.

I also try to find the good things in a day and yesterday was a dark one. Not only the weather but just trying to find my happy place inside.

I feel I was given a gift of beauty and life and hope. How perfect was that message?

I went through a typical evening and got into bed to read. By now I was very tired and trying not to think about the next day. I just needed to relax and sleep.

I decided to read Mary Oliver’s book “Why I Wake Early”. I find comfort in someone else who notices and enjoys the gifts of Nature and Life. I read two poems, turned the page and what was the next poem? Snow Geese! And her amazing words perfectly matched my experience earlier in the day.

What an amazing gift for me. I read the poem over and over again. And I just reread it now.

It doesn’t matter where or how gifts like this arrive. What matters is that I am open to receiving and appreciating them when they do.

And I am grateful.

Winter: Enjoying It, Kind Of

Winter is probably my least favorite season of the year. I enjoy it more when I can stay home and don’t have to navigate the slippery roads. I don’t even mind shoveling that much when I can take my time and enjoy that special peaceful quiet that is part of a gentle snowfall or after a big snowstorm.

I am really trying to stay positive despite all the snow and ice we had in December.

Ice-covered

Ice-covered

 

And I’m still looking for the beauty despite the frigid cold we’ve had and lots more snow we’ve gotten this month.

Holly Berries

Holly Berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do find this icicle beautiful and amazing.

Cool curved icicle

Cool curved icicle

I wrote a poem about winter that I was going to post but it in rereading it just now, it’s very dark. Definitely not a happy poem.

A friend of mine wrote a great poem about winter that pretty accurately describes how I feel about it at this point. I just reread it on his blog and it still makes me laugh, so please visit here  to read it.

I also really enjoyed these photos from one of my favorite blogs. He managed to capture winter beauty as he always does. Please check out his blog too for a lift.

In the meantime, I am enjoying staying cozy inside. I’ve read a few really good books. I’m drinking a lot of green tea which is supposed to be healthy for you. And I am finally getting back to my writing which I have let sit idle for too long but sometimes I just have to do that. Don’t you?

What do you do to make winter more enjoyable?