It is snowing! I am surprised at my reaction [happy excitement], given my lack of focus or interest earlier today regarding the possible arrival of snow. My relationship with snow has certainly been altered this year. Normally, I am craving snow like people crave chocolate or sex, but this year we have had at least four snow events giving us upwards of 20 inches in total and so I have become slightly jaded. We still have piles of snow from the December 17 snowstorm in the Wal-mart parking lot. Those piles were startling at first and now seem like a part of the normal landscape. It amazes me how quickly we can become sated with something [or someone] and begin to take it [them] for granted. It is true that you want most what you cannot have.
In years past, especially those where snow visited everyone else but us, I longed for snow and was obsessed with the weather channel. I would watch it like some people watch the stock market, looking for any small indication of wintery precipitation in the forecast. When snowflake graphics appeared on the five-day, the music they played during the local forecast would become hypnotic and enchanting. With prospect of anything wintery, I would be glued to the television and later the Internet watching as the forecast would morph day after day and hour after hour until sometimes tragically the possibility of snow would disappear from the forecast completely. Or worse yet, they would predict an overnight snow and I would dance from window to window unable to go to sleep with excitement– only to wake up the next morning and find the same dull, brown yard and naked stick trees.
When the boys were small, it seemed to snow pretty well here. When we moved to Roxboro, we were told by the folks at the chamber of commerce that the average yearly snowfall was 5 inches. I was pleased as pop to hear that since the latter part of my childhood was spent in Wilmington NC where snow was a real rarity. We had moved from Maryland where snow averages were much more than 5 inches a season, and my sister and I even owned a pair of ice skates when we arrived on Sweetbriar Lane. That very year, 1973, Wilmington had a sort of snowpacalypse of its own when a foot of snow fell followed by freezing rain which left a thick sheet of ice over all that snow. I have pictures of my sister and I in our mocha brown parkas with fur-lined hoods standing in the front yard with our white ice skates on. We posed like figure skaters and entertained questions from curious neighborhood children who had never even seen ice skates. We skated and shared our skates and quickly made lots of new friends in the neighborhood. So… I thought, so much for that. It does snow here.. maybe we brought the snow with us! From there on, I looked for snow each year in sunny Wilmington where we often wore shorts and flip flops and played outdoors on Thanksgiving day [I have always been an optimist].
Of course, we didn’t get much more than a flake of snow for another 7 years. In March of 1980 we had another big snow- like 7 inches, I think. I was 16 years old and could drive in snow- in a ’67 white VW bug no less! Meantime, from ages 16-18, I was headed to Boone every chance I got to visit friends at App and go skiing. Snow was elusive and unpredictable and I longed for it each year. Perhaps due in large part to its scarcity, when it did arrive, it was magical. Nothing could get me excited like the hint of snow in the air. When it began to fall, I would delight in it with all of my senses. I’m not sure if you can, but I can smell snow. My favorite snows are fluffy wonderfully packing snows that mound up quickly on every surface like cotton candy and my second favorite are powdery sparkling snows twinkling with millions of iridescent points of light. I love watching it fall, especially when it falls in big, fluffy puffs that drift down in multiple directions taking their time, in no hurry, to make their way to the ground. Watching snow fall for me is like watching fish swim in an aquarium.. everything seems to slow down and get quieter.. suspended animation where silence has a sound.
So, even though I have had enough snow this season to tame my usual eagerness, I am still sitting here mesmerized.. gazing through the classroom window at softly blowing snow that melts as it hits the wet black pavement of the parking lot… happy because I get to see snow again.. loving the magic we have had the good fortune to experience this winter.. and grateful for what might be our last taste of magic this year ❄