Snow baby
Midwest Living

Snow Adrift

I spent most of the summer and all of the fall dreading this winter’s first snowfall. If you talked to me in the weeks following Hank’s arrival you probably heard me complain about how ill-prepared I was for winter. In reality, the winter clothes had already been vetted and I bought the kids their snow bibs a size big last year so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything except remembering where I’d stashed them. What I meant was I wasn’t prepared for the weight of it to strip the last brown leaves from the branches leaving endless miles of bare trees and barren corn fields.

I’ve loved the snow, or as Indy he would call it “the know”, for a lifetime. The ability it holds to turn nothing special into something magical. That hush you can hear before you even open the blinds to check. The way a fresh fall gives under your feet. The cold shock of the snowball that starts an all out war. The excited anticipation waiting for the official call on a snow day.

But everyone hibernates in the winter. People rush home to get in from the cold. There are no neighborhood kids streaming by on bikes yelling to each other, no flits of laughter floating over from the park on the corner. Those sounds of life outside our house are sometimes the most tangible reminder that we aren’t just floating out in space. It wasn’t really the snow. I just didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts and the stillness that settles after a gray sky opens up letting fat, fluffy flakes drift down.

Despite my misgivings, on a cold day I’d much rather look out to see a white blanket spread down the road than not. We have had mornings filled with snowman construction which has Indy asking me to buy a bag of noses instead of carrots every time we are at the grocery store. Afternoons of sledding which almost always ends with the kind of laughter that leaves your belly sore for days. Nights piled in a heap underneath blankets waiting for the beef stew to finish braising in the oven. Mental keepsakes none of us would have without being poised at this place at exactly this time. A year from now it’s very possible the three of them together might not fit in my lap on the toboggan.

Spring is coming. The rabbits are out, pregnant and waiting for the ground to thaw so they can dig nests to birth their babies. We’ve had some blue sky days and temps that have risen into the 50’s. On those days I stretch out in the sunspots on the rug and read books to the boys, missing our front porch in La Mesa with an intensity that gnaws at me. Even so, I’m hoping for at least one more respectable snowfall before the flowers start to sprout. Mostly I’m in awe of how quickly things change.


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