Light fluffy flakes of snow falling soundlessly outside my bedroom window. Branches loaded down with thick heavy snow and traffic nearly non-existent on the usually busy street where I live. According to the little band across the bottom of my tv screen – everything is closed or closing.
I remember long ago days when the sight of this much snow would mean no school. No having to wake up early, pull on boots that were too tight around my chubby calves, a heavy wool coat, a scarf, hat and a pair of gloves that I could only ever find one of, unless I didn’t need them. The scarf tied around my head, so that only my eyes were uncovered, so that the wind wouldn’t take my breath away and that warm moist feeling on your face from breathing through the knitted material.
Then, the sound of my brothers and I, running through the house, playing hide and seek and my mother herding us up, and sending us out to the back yard to play or out front to shovel the walk before “your father gets home.” The plan was always to build an amazing snow man or better yet, a fort, so we could have someplace to hide when the other neighborhood kids wanted to launch a full on offensive against us in a snowball fight. We’d get the bottom of the snow man built and turn our attention to self-defense and manage to get about a 2 x 2 foot fort that wouldn’t protect us against anything. The joy of traipsing through an untouched back yard full of snow up to your knees is something that every child should experience. The unimaginable pleasure of making snow angel’s and watching as the snow drifted lazily onto your face, a snowflake catching on your eyelid for a second and then melting down your face.
Of course, the best part of the day, when you came into the house, dragging half the snow in the back yard with you and the smell of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup cooking on the stove top. Mom would only break long enough to secure the snowball that your brother brought with him in the freezer, so we could show Dad when he got home. The hot, creamy tomato soup sliding down the back of your frozen throat, heating you up from the inside and smiling huge smiles just because it was a snow day and you still had hours to color in coloring books, or watch a movie or listen to your favorite songs and dance around the living room while your brother played disc jockey. Snow days were the best days…days that stick to you like melted cheese on your face.
Looking out the window, snow still falling steadily, I wonder how something so magnificently innocent could become days of worrying about snow tires, cancellations, closings, transportation and snow removal. Those days of wonder and frolic turn into days of panic, alarm and dread. I haven’t caught a snowflake on my tongue or eyelid in thirty years. What has changed, though? I have a back yard. I have a front walk. My freezer is not so full that I can’t fit in a snowball. We have cheese, bread and tomato soup in store. Why am I sitting regretting days gone by and memories that fill my heart with the joys of childhood? Watch out neighborhood kids, Ronan and I are on our way!