Thursday, January 3, 2008

What if we never had snow?

“Are your roads snow-packed?” my cousin (from the city) asked. She wasn’t asking for safety reasons, but for something a little closer to the heart. She continued, “The other night, I walked home from a neighbours as it was snowing. It was so beautiful, soft snow glinting under the streetlights and the roads all white. It brought back the memories of my childhood, when they didn’t use salt to clear the roads.”

Her comment brought back my own memories. Living in a rural area, I’ve become accustomed to white roads and clear stars in the night sky – they are a fact of life down here. I smiled at her words, because there is something about snow-packed roads and the winter landscape that brings out the child in me as well. I still love to fall on my back in a pristine drift to make snow angels, and then just lie there watching the world from this angle, until the coldness seeps through my clothes.

On Sunday, she brought her four-year old daughter down and we joined a gang of other children tobogganing at the golf course, wailing and whining down the hills on crazy carpets like forty years hadn’t passed since the last time we’d done this. Pure joy.

The past two winters have been barren, which makes for good walking and hiking, but I’ve really missed the snow. However, during the past week or so, we’ve been socked in by no less than four snowstorms bringing 131 cm of wonderful white fluff. While snow removal can certainly be tiresome , I am thrilled with mountainous snowbanks that call to mind my childhood and a fresh, white winter, wide open to possibilities.

Monday, my husband and I donned our back country trekking skis and skied right down the road to the woods trails, where we followed a single track made earlier in the morning from a lone snowshoer.

The forest, laden with great marshmallow pillows, was serene and quiet, yet the creeks still bubbled clear. Our snow came early and thick this year, so the creeks have remained open in spite of some bitterly cold temperatures. Sometimes we were up to our knees in snow, ploughing through and laughing as the dog bounded through the drifts like a rabbit, stopping every 20 feet or so to chew the snow from her paws.

It was a good day.

I think if I never had snow, I might get old much faster.


Victoria Cummings said...

I love snow too. I think the world is divided into those who love it and those who hate it. I grew up outside of Chicago where we got mountains of snow. There are photos of my dad standing in these narrow paths to our front door where the snow is piled higher than his head. The city scene that your cousin describes is just as magical to me as the country scene that you talk about. I love New York City after it snows. It's so quiet and still. Now, living in the country again, I'm hoping for more snow asap.

Deborah Carr said...

My whole life has been lived in a snow belt, so learned very early on that it is much like other things in life: if you want to love it, you will find a reason.

As a child, the snow brought snowmen and forts and sliding hills, then as a more sophisticated teenager, it was snowmobiling and skating. It was a natural progression to also find joy in it as an adult. When I took up downhill skiing, snow became gold. Later, when I moved to the country, snowshoeing and cross-country became the activities of choice for the peace and quietude they brought.

Diane said...

What a perfect question to end with. Although I find the minus 20 to minus 30 and beyond weather very difficult, I do enjoy the snow when the weather is up at the minus 10 or 15 mark.

Back on the New Year I posted a photo of our snow laden road.

It's great to know you too lie in the snow making snow angels then look up until the cold seeps through and begins to chill the back. What people miss.

I love your description and photo of the marshmallow snow. Lovely post as usual.

Sand to Glass