Oh, hello snow….
This was the view across the street from the NEA post-Snowmageddon circa February 2010.
It is still a wondrous thing to look out the window and see snow. Especially as I didn’t see anything in the forecast this morning, but of course it was early, and I had a headache, and what does weather.com know anyway?
Across the driveway, a little girl in the next apartment building is also gazing out the window at the slow dribble of flakes. I don’t remember my first snowfall—I would have discovered my first winter when I was not yet a year arrived from Guyana, on the verge of turning three, on the verge of becoming a big sister—and I imagine it was both shocking and delightful. I’m sure I stuck my tongue out to taste the flakes even as my mother chastised me to “not get carried away.” And I’m sure I tried to make a snowball (and I’m still trying though quite frankly I suck at it.)
When I was in seventh or eight grade, there was a huge snowstorm in New York City that closed even my Catholic school a little early. My sister and I had no way to get home but to walk nearly a mile, and by the time we left school at least a foot had already accumulated. So we did the only thing we could: we went to Sonia Hollies’ house (she lived much closer to St. Clare’s) for hot chocolate. Hopefully we also called my grandmother to let her know it was slow going and it would take much longer than usual for us to slog it home. I do remember that when Debbie and I finally headed out into the snow and wind again, we tried to hitch a ride with the mailman. But he said he wasn’t allowed to give rides to civilians. So on we slogged, turning into ever more frosted versions of ourselves with each step.
What is it about those first moments of a snowfall that act on us as surely as Proust’s madelines? There’s such a sense of delight to seeing those first flakes, and yet I don’t even like snow. My aunts and their cousins used to go on a ski trip each year and I couldn’t wait to be legal so I could join them. It sounded like so much fun. But their kids had arrived by the time I was old enough and the ski trip tradition became just a memory. I did finally go on my first ski trip a couple of years ago with the kids from church, and I hated every minute of it. Too many people, too much wet, too much cold, too many places to slip, and there was no way I was getting on skis or a snowboard. Did I mention that I was with a group of tweens who whined the entire time about having to stand in line to get their skis?
But still, it’s hard not to smile as the branches on the pines outside the window become frosted, and the sound of wet wheels —something like record hiss, I think—leaks through the window, and if this is winter arrived at last, surely spring too will come again…