Thursday, January 6
The other day Ralph said to me, “I miss snow.”
This, during the warmest December I’ve ever spent in my life, loving every second of the windows open and the car-alarm-birds singing. I don’t know whether to thank the south or climate change, but it was nice.
Then Ralph says he misses snow.
I was not missing snow.
“I thought you hated snow?”
Nope, he doesn’t hate snow. He likes the darn white stuff, likes being all snowed in on a cozy winter day theoretically drinking hot chocolate which we never do but it’s the thought that counts.
Well, this was news to me.
Couple years ago we talked about moving to New Hampshire. No taxes and all that. But at some point it became about too cold and too much snow and go south.
So we ended up in Tennessee, bless its heart, and nary a snow plow in sight.
Not until about a week ago did I find out he misses snow.
“So why didn’t we move to New Hampshire?”
And I come to find out, it’s because I don’t like the cold.
It’s true. I loathe cold. Where “cold” for me means “anything below 60.”
But I don’t hate snow. I like snow, at least when it’s falling and pretty and white. We both agree that New York City snow is a hard no. It’s fine in the first five minutes but then it’s just black and sludge and gross.
But New Hampshire snow, we can both get behind that. And as long as I’m in front of a fireplace, with my theoretical hot chocolate, preferably with a few cats on my feet, then snow is fabulous.
Except we’re in the south, where “winter” means anything from 75° on a December day to 11 on a January one, and we both like snow but it’s not here.
Anyway, we woke up this morning to lots of it. Lying there, falling there, swirling there. So there was no question about what today’s word was going to be.
It’s been a long time since my last snow day, but I hated school enough through my entire childhood that the absolute joy of being told it was a snow day is permanently etched in my being. I see snow, and suddenly I feel safe.
I see snow and I think “bake cookies!”
Of course, if I wasn’t repenting of an entire month of holiday indiscretion that involved an absurd amount of cookies, or mired in a client project, I totally would have baked today.
I lit candles instead.
You can’t eat them, but they smell nice.
Things that float through my brain when I think of snow:
My dad, pulling us on the sled, huffing and puffing but getting us up to an excellent velocity as we laughed and eventually tumbled over into a pile of kids on the side of the road.
Getting out of bed at 6AM to shovel snow with said dad, whether it was still snowing or not, because when it snowed it tended to mean it and if you waited too long you’d never get the shovel off the ground.
That was mom’s arena, and since she had fourfivesix of us to entertain during any given snow day, we had to do something other than drive her mad.
My adult memories of snow are less poetic.
The time I drove an hour to pitch a prospect in the middle of a snowstorm because he made it sound THAT IMPORTANT and then I rear-ended someone on the way home when everyone on the road started sliding around and he didn’t hire us anyway.
Stepping out of the car and losing my footing going splat and spending the next two months in a cast and on crutches.
But these days, I have nowhere to go and I’m not messing with mortality anymore, so I’m perfectly content letting it snow while I sit here and enjoy it.
Also, I live in Tennessee, and I think there is approximately one plow in the whole state. An inch of snow is a state of emergency. Last year’s ice storm resulted in a week of nobody going anywhere, because nobody could get anyone to so much as lay down a container of Morton.
So today, this morning, at noon, at 2pm, until the light dimmed out of the sky and I couldn’t see anything anymore, I gazed out at the swirls and whirls and flurries and wisps of snow. Sometimes it came down sideways, like it forgot how gravity worked. Sometimes it flittered around looking for the ideal place to land, and, unsatisfied, whipped back up into the air to settle somewhere else.
Mostly it settled on roads and fences and trees, and occasionally a tree would sneeze it off in a powdery puff.
It brought with it the special silence of snow. The kind of silence where everything is muted and you’re swaddled by your first Mother. A silence so still that you can actually hear the whisper of the flakes falling around you. When the delivery trucks stop humming and the construction equipment stops beeping and even the dogs stop barking for just a little while out of reverence for the church of the universe.
Not even the scraping of a shovel because… remember the part about being in Tennessee?
I don’t know if I miss snow the way Ralph does, and I certainly never lament a 75° day in December, but I do appreciate the lovely view and the zen silence of a good snowfall.
Who knows, maybe we’ll end up in New Hampshire after all, with our 22 cats and a bucket of hot chocolate. And, if we’re lucky, maybe even a bit of quiche.
Photo: the snowy view of the entryway to my apartment complex seen from my balcony.