Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowbound in Carolina

I look out my kitchen window and see white everywhere.  Ordinary branches are transformed into giant lace by thick lines of snow.  The sky is white, and everything is silent.  I wonder why we find snow so magical?  I assume that unless you are an Eskimo you too marvel at feathery flakes sifting through the light from street lamps, laying down a white blanket over bare earth and the stalks of dead flowers.

I spent a good deal of my life in northern climes--western Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Ontario.  When I was a child, I loved snow because it meant snow forts, sledding, and snowmen.  Later, when I was a young mother and it took a solid hour to ready my kids for an outing--snowsuits, hats, mitts, scarves, boots--I started to question the sanity of those who choose to live such strenuous lives.  By the time the kids were ready to brave the elements, someone invariably had to go to the bathroom.  I didn't find snow so magical then.

I've said many times that I don't care if I never see snow again, but today I think I must take that back.  I had forgotten how a snowscape outside can make indoors feel cozy and protected.  I know there are children out there who are getting to use their sleds at last.  I'm glad I don't have to brave the cold to take my grandsons to the hill across the street from their house, but I can imagine their thrill as they swoosh over the snow with tingling cheeks.  Children know what to do with winter.   Kids who can scarcely be persuaded to walk to the corner of their street in April will trudge three miles to a friend's house if there's a foot of snow on the ground, as my sons did once.

"Where are the snows of yesteryear?"  I find they have been locked in my heart as memories I had almost forgotten.  I haven't changed my mind about snow really; it's good to know it will melt and be gone soon.  But for today it's fun to cuddle up with a cup of hot tea and a good book and pause to listen to the silence of the snow.