We’re having a late snowstorm that has dumped over a foot of snow already with snow still falling. I went out snowshoeing earlier trying to create walking paths to the generator and firewood. It’s a heavy snow giving me a good workout. It took down two big sumac trees and a huge cherry limb off the ancient cherry tree. The “Finest Man” already cleared that limb off the driveway before I even got outside. He had such a great attitude about it explaining that it was next year’s firewood that he doesn’t have to haul out of the woods. The plow struggled getting up the road, and we’re not planning to go anywhere except maybe for a walk, which is fine with me. I love hunkering down in the winter. I’ve been working on my book, having to cut out a lot to make it a more reasonable length. It’s tough to decide what to leave in and what to sacrifice. Today, as I was outside enjoying the snow, I started remembering snowstorms from my past and decided to share some of those stories that won’t make the cut.
One early memory is of taking my younger brother sledding. We lived around the corner from Mulberry Street which was a long hill. In the late 50s and early 60s, most cars didn’t go out in the snow unless necessary. Because there wasn’t much traffic, the neighborhood kids sledded down that street calling out “car,” if there was one approaching. Mom usually took us out, but one day she let us go out without her. I was given strict instructions to watch out for my brother and not let him go down the hill by himself, and off we went. Of course, after the first few times riding with me, my brother insisted he was old enough to go alone. It took a lot of convincing, but I finally relented. I gave him a hefty push and watched as he went careening down the hill. He didn’t have steering down and smashed into a huge snowbank, disappearing under the heavy snow. Frantically a bunch of us went racing down to dig him out. Luckily, he was fine though slightly traumatized. I don’t remember if Mom had her super sense and had come out just as he was emerging or if my brother told her the story, but it was the last time I was tasked with taking him sledding, which was fine with me.
Another similar incident happened when my daughter was two-years old. On February 5th, 1978, Connecticut was hit with two feet of snow. After digging our way outside and clearing our car, my husband and I decided to play in the snow with our daughter. The snow was too deep for her to walk on. Paul carried her for a while, but it wasn’t much fun for anyone. We decided to let her walk on top of the snowbanks that towered over even my head. Then, as she was walking along, she suddenly plummeted into the middle of one of them. Once again, I found myself frantically digging through deep, packed snow trying to rescue another child. We got her out quickly, and she thought it was a lark, wanting to go right back up. We convinced her that going inside for cocoa was a much better idea.
That same winter, Paul and I were invited to a “snowed-in party.” We had a sitter who lived right in the same apartment building with her mom, so we decided to go. We started walking the 5 or 6 miles in the storm when a car came by and stopped. We looked over and saw it was the local police. They asked what we were doing out in the storm. We replied that we were going to the party. They thought we were crazy, but we explained that it was a snowed-in party. That was the whole point. They laughed, shook their heads and offered us a ride. We took it and had them drop us off a few blocks before our destination, just to be safe. The party was sparsely attended but great fun, and we managed a ride home around daybreak.
I have always had fun in winter. I’ve done snow sculptures of various creatures. Dragons are one of my favorites. I’ve built igloos out of icy chunks of snow and snow forts with tunnels. I loved sledding and ice skating. I no longer sled or skate. Now I enjoy snowshoeing. The woods are so different in the winter. I can see animal tracks and other signs of wildlife. Occasionally, I’ll come across a killing ground where an owl or other predator has had a meal. The birds here are so used to having us around, they don’t fly away but sometimes follow me through the woods, especially if the feeder is running low. I love variety and savor each season. You will never hear me complain about the weather, except maybe the extreme humid heat. However, if I can swim, I’ll even tolerate that. “There’s a time for every season under heaven.” (“Turn, Turn, Turn” by Pete Seeger) I hope you enjoy this video of my song "In Winter" then go out and enjoy the weather that you can't change.