What is it about the prospect of snow that turns me into an instant eight-year-old?
I HATE being cold. If I had my druthers, I’d live in one of those little stick houses out in the water in Bora Bora, where I could go swimming every day and lie out in the sun until my skin turns to a gorgeous warm brown. How can I help disliking the cold when I grew up in Southern California, where no one knew what a parka was? We all bundled up in fake-fur coats whenever the temperature dropped below sixty degrees…….my blood just never had the chance to ‘thicken up’ like those who live in more extreme climes.
So the first winter that Will and I were up here, it snowed like crazy for three days and the daytime HIGH temp never got out of the teens. What’s more, the wind-chill was something like 15 below, and since I personally had never been in anything colder than 15 above, I was not a happy camper. I mean, who knew that snot freezes?
Other than the fact that it has to get so damned cold in order for it to snow—and dear God, don’t ask me to actually GO anywhere in it—the white stuff has no negative qualities. I love standing at our picture window on a cold winter’s morn, looking out at the snow falling gently on the evergreen trees and drinking the hottest, strongest coffee I can stand. I enjoy going out and playing in it, too, at least for the five minutes that I can stand the chill. I even like having snowball fights and making slushies out of Coca-Cola and a handful of the clean snow on the top of the car.
One winter, I decided to make a snowball, wrap it in a plastic bag, and keep it in the freezer. (I don’t know why, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.) Naturally, Will and the kids made fun of me for doing it, but soon the snowball was shoved to the back of the freezer and forgotten.
TWO YEARS LATER, I was digging through the freezer for the last pound of hamburger we had when I ran across the snowball. Only it was an ice-ball now, and thus absolutely useless for any purpose other than to throw through a window like a baseball. Since I wasn’t about to do that—and didn’t want my boys to get any ideas either—I tossed it outside onto the lawn to melt. A little bit later, I saw my younger son out there talking to one of the neighbor kids, and to my embarrassment he was holding the dripping thing and telling the kid about how his Mom had saved it “YEARS ago!” so she could make slushies with it.
Other ways I humiliate myself with the white stuff: I have a tendency to lose my balance easily and fall in it, which causes it to wind up in places that snow was never intended to be. I also eat an inordinate amount of it, which causes me to pee about every five minutes for hours. Because even in this neck of the woods, snow is something of a rarity—we usually have only one or two minor ‘snow events’ each winter, and then everyone goes ape-shit buying out the stores in case we get more than a couple of inches.
People from places like Minnesota just laugh at us, because snow makes us behave like Southern Californians do in the rain—like it’s something we’ve never seen before and don’t quite know what we’re supposed to do with it. I mean, we CLOSE DOWN when there’s more than three or four inches on the ground—schools don’t open and nothing moves unless it’s headed for Starbucks.
Will and I happen to live on the one single large hill in town. We are exactly at 500 feet, which sometimes means that we’ll get snow while our neighbors at slightly lower elevations get nothing. Or, the valley floor will skate by with a dusting to maybe 2-3 inches, and we’ll get six. Or—like what happened during the early spring a couple of years ago—the town proper got four inches of snow, while we were trying futilely to get up our long, sloping driveway with over a foot of fresh powder covering it.
And I loved it.
Snow in my little corner of the universe means snuggling in with a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace, a mug of hot cocoa, and a bowl of popcorn. It means turning the lights down low so you can watch the woods turn into a marshmallow world. It means exchanging snowballs with your mate of three decades, and trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue like the kids in the Peanuts specials. (And yes, I taught all four of mine NEVER to lick the flagpole at school during a hard freeze.)
In short—snow is magic.
And now that I’ve made a big deal out of it, it probably won’t snow at all. Meh.