January 6th, 2010


I Love Snow

I really do.  I know that there are many, many people reading this who don't agree, but I love winter.  I like snow, I like cold, I like heavy blankets and bulky sweaters and all the things my co-workers hate.  Yes, shoveling is a pain, ice storms suck, and many things are inconvenient, but I'm that annoying person who at forty still rushes to the window to watch when someone says "it's snowing."

Hey - someone has to.

This afternoon while rummaging in the bottom of my desk drawer trying to find the box of staples (they had slid under the box of light bulbs where I couldn't see them.  What?  Don't you have a box of 100 watt light bulbs in your top desk drawer?  Next to the AA batteries...) I found a newspaper article I clipped out of the Hartford Courant several years ago.  It expresses my feelings about it perfectly (although I grew up in snow country, not down south.)  I love Susan Campbell's writing.  I don't always agree with her, and her pieces are often uncomfortable, but I always read.

So, for your enjoyment (and mine):

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Sunday Takes the Adult Out of the Girl
Susan Campbell
Hartford Courant 02/15/2006 

Just for the record, no one really uses the word “nor’easter.” No one talks that way, save for weather people and whalers wandering in from the sea. And even then, maybe it’s only television whalers who talk that way.

But I like the sound of it. I like that my family father south calls to check on me during a nor’easter. They watch the Weather Channel and get whipped into a frenzy. Visions of wooly mammoths will keep them up nights if they don’t call to be reassured that, yes, it’s snowing, but no, it’s not fatal.

Can I let you in on a secret? Nor’easter or no, I love snow days. I love snow days even when they fall on weekends and there’s nothing to interrupt and nothing to reschedule.

Snow softens things. It turns hard rocks into round lumps of icing. It erases roads and blurs boundaries. I can walk down the middle of my street during a snowstorm, and who’s going to stop me? The plows are infrequent, and most of my neighbors have the good sense to stay inside.

Not me. I have lived in New England for two decades, and the snow – so infrequent where I grew up – still enthralls me. Back home, we must have photographed every winter storm that came through. Our albums are dotted with faded-out Polaroids of wiggling children bundled to their eyes, standing knee-deep in the white stuff. I know that beneath the scarves, those children’s grins are delirious. In our rare snowstorms, we would blast out of the house into a world made new and run from marker to marker to see how the snow had changed things, how it clung to Mrs. Green’s chain-link fence, how it drifted over the broken picnic table out back. The snow showed us that even the most familiar things could be altered into something else entirely.

I suppose we threw snowballs; we were, after all, an aggressive herd, and if rocks were out of the question (severe punishment awaited rock-throwers in my family), snowballs, being seasonal, would have been most attractive.  But what I remember most about the snow was the discovery, the gentleness, the awakening.

I shoveled on the morning of this weekend’s storm, and then I took that walk down the middle of my street. The snowplow had come through two hours before, but you almost couldn’t tell. On a whim, I turned left into the woods and immediately sank to my knees in fresh powder.

Walking even farther into that new world, the trees cracked with cold, and the wind hushed through the pines. The powder clung to everything and rearranged the underbrush into something beautiful

There are a lot of things you say goodbye to when you put away childish things. You stop breaking into a run just because. You aren’t allowed to burst into giggles or tears. You don’t blush or say out loud, “Wow,” and mean it. There’s a leveling off that happens. You have to be on time for appointments. You have to comb your hair. There are obligations to be met that render drinking from the fairy cups in the forest out of the question. Frown lines form; sleep is lost. There’s probably a connection there.

And without your realizing it, snow becomes something that stands between you and the end goal, that to-do list with everything vigorously checked off.

Being a full-time adult is overrated. So here in this soft landscape, I grabbed my day pass back to childhood and dropped to make a snow angel. And then I lay on my back while the snow drifted down and stung my eyes.

When I finally began to feel the cold, I thought to walk home to get my camera and take a picture of my artwork. But I decided instead to just leave her there, evidence that just this once, on this snowy Sunday when anything could happen, I walked back into girlhood. And I giggled all the way home.


Fun with Spelling

Found this on my h:// drive at work.  God only knows where *I* got it:

If GH can stand for P, as in "Hiccough;"

If OUGH stands for O, as in "Dough;"

If PHTH stands for T, as in "Phthisis;"

If EIGH stands for A, as in "Neighbor;"

F TTE stands for T, as in "Gazette;"

If EAU stands for O, as in "Plateau;"

Then, the right way to spell POTATO should be: GHOUGHPHTHEIGHTTEEAU