Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow days

I'm sitting here, trying to wrestle a useful message out of cable TV, how you'd all be better off turning it off, read a book for gosh sakes.  But it's just not coming, it's not working.  I'll get a better head of steam on that someday, not right now.

The fact is I'm a little stiff, it was a biggish day with a bit of a letdown at the tail end.  But I clambered away from my littered and disorganized desk, picked up my coat and headed out the door...

...into snow.  A lot of it.  Son #2 had called earlier to say that there were huge flakes coming down and it was sticking everywhere, but that hadn't really registered.  I commute 20+ miles each way so I don't really think of weather at home as being the same as weather at work.  It often isn't.

So there's snow, and it's beautiful.  Not so beautiful I forgot to find a snow shovel and bag of salt and make those available to the people running the front desk, but still - it was quite the kick.  Blink, blink.

I'd add a picture here but by the time I got to a camera, it was full night.  Without significantly more flash horsepower than my ancient Polaroid digital camera offers, the pictures are mostly excellent shots of darkness.  But let's skip past that a moment.

Remember being a kid, and waking up on a morning when the light wasn't quite right, the house felt just a teensy bit too quiet.  That's the odd muffling effect of all that snow.  Sound goes in, but it doesn't come back out.

A few mornings ago I woke and had that same feeling, hearing water running in the gutters (gotta rip those off one of these years, I hate 'em) but no rain hitting the roof.  Everything felt just a bit stiller than a typical December morning.

Lo and behold, east Tennessee's first white Christmas since about 1991.  And it was beautiful.  To wander through the house and find the view through each window so different from what it usually is, knowing it's going to be different but you have to go look at it anyway, is to go in search of that wonder you had in your childhood room, waking and wondering why the world has gone so quiet.  And even now, so many years since I've had a day off from school for snow, still that thrill of sudden liberty is there - no school!  Snowball fights, sledding, building a snow fort - which for me always involved a piece of paper, a couple of sharp pencils and many cups of hot cocoa.  My snow forts were 99% planning, and 1% "Holy smokes it's cold out here."  The thrill of playing in it could wear off pretty fast if the latest growth spurt had some ankle poking out past the cuffs of my jeans.  Get those gloves soaked, and the snow stops looking like so much fun.

I've gotten a lot bigger, gained a great many pounds of weight, some of it muscle, some of it not but generally my thermal flywheel coasts down slower than it used to.  I can take the cold better now than I did then.  But I haven't become jaded to snow.  It's still a delight, a magical transformation of the entire world.  What was green and brown and gray and textured is now all in shades of white, slightly pebbled, silent.

Have a beautiful evening.

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