flotsam, peeves

You can have it

Snow Cat
Image by clickclique via Flickr

The morning opens somehow quieter than usual. Even through the shades, the light is muted, dim. It makes me suspect…

Indeed, the forecast was right. We have snow. In these quiet early morning moments, still blowing in the air, pristine on the ground. It will not stay untouched, it will not say so still and quiet. Shovels and snowblowers and the playing of children will begin…

Do you know who likes snow?

People who play in it, and people who don’t get any where they live.

One of the people I-imagine-I-know-because-we-read-each-other-online grew up (in part) in areas of the country that got snow. His memories of it, therefore, are the memories of a child’s experience. No need to drive in it. Shoveling, if done at all, almost a game. A sudden holiday from school. Snow forts, snow angels, snowball fights. All fun and games, followed by a return to the warmth of home and hot chocolate. Where he lives now, they get little and what little they get tends not to stick or not to stay. And he loves snow. Longs for it.

Dude, that’s because it doesn’t stick and doesn’t stay.

Snow, not sticking on the ground but falling gently through the air – light and fresh and cleansing – is lovely. It’s rain, dressed up for a party, prettier than ever. Walk in it, and your breath catches. Your hair and lashes are briefly decorated.  Or snow, sticking not so long as to be a traffic hazard, but just lightly coating sidestreets and yards, strips the world of its color as it blankets everything in a shroud of dazzling, pure white. It’s a picture worthy of a postcard, or the view out a window from a cozy room.

Sure, if childhood memories and the briefest of visitations are your experience of snow, I can see why anyone would love it… would be fooled into thinking they want more of it.

The snow we got is not wet and heavy. No snowmen or snowballs, but also not backbreaking in the removal. Small mercies. Snow angels could have been made but would not have stayed; too light, the sharp wind would blow away the shape. A light crackling surface of ice has formed on top since then, so the snow doesn’t blow but can’t be shaped either. That crust also renders the walkways and roadways a fresh danger.

Our snow is staying. We are not expecting temperatures above freezing until Monday. Rain expected then; it would resolve my need to shovel but not in time for work. So out I go, and in I come.

As an adult, shoveling snow is not a pleasant little game that some other person will attend to when I am done playing around at it. I am thankful for how light the snow is, since upper body strength is not one of the things women-in-general or I-in-particular am known for, making the need to clear snow one of the small cruelties of life for the single woman.

As an adult, when I am all done with this necessary but unpleasant task – face numb, back sore, hands aching and fingers no longer bending – I am not greeted at the door by a smiling, loving parent who will assist with the replacement of wet gear with warmer alternatives and a steaming cup of hot cocoa at the ready.

Alas no. I am the adult. There is no giving up when it’s no longer fun. And when it is finished, there is no ringing of the doorbell and waiting for warmth to gather me in. The hands that ache with cold must be made to get the door open. Despite the pain, the fingers that have frozen past the use of fine motor skills must be made to maneuver keys, locks, doorknobs… and then snaps, zippers and laces. Only my own forethought arranges for there to be an easy change into warm and dry clothing, and there is no cocoa but what I make for myself. My hands hurt so badly I wonder about permanent damage and frostbite and circulatory problems. I seem t have a lower threshold for cold in my fingers anyway, and I wonder if it’s age-related and then decide not… as I recall days in junior high in which I needed to open my locker upon arrival at school, using the outer edges of my palms since my fingers could not be made to bend to the task. Humans are not meant for such cold. Certainly I was not.

Sure, snow is great. Through a window. On a postcard. For children. For skiers and snowboarders (and even more so for those who travel to the snow for the purpose and then leave it behind).

But not so much for me. You like it so much? You can have it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s