There are certain things that set my heart aflutter. Some are not suitable material for a public family forum such as this. But the one I’d like to talk about today is filled with childlike innocence.
It’s snow. And I am here to confess that I love the stuff. Snowflakes. Snowmen. And snow days. It all makes me smile.
When I moved to the great state of Maine, I did it for three reasons: The ocean. The pine trees. And the snow. Admittedly, most of my family and friends seemed to confuse Maine with the frozen tundra of Canada. Or the Arctic Circle. It is difficult to convince people in places like New Jersey that Portland is not a place where people travel to work via dogsled.
I must admit here and now that my first five winters in Maine were rather disappointing. I was expecting a lot more snow. Last year was especially depressing; we may as well have been living in Miami.
This year, however, I’ve been walking around (albeit in boots that go up to my knees) on cloud nine. It’s been all snow, all the time. And it makes me giddy. This is the best winter I can remember since I’ve been approximately 10 years old. It’s hard to go back in time, but for me, this winter has been not unlike discovering the fountain of youth.
I am fortunate beyond words to own a vintage house with a large, screened porch, which turns into a “glassed” porch during the winter. There is nothing more wondrous than sitting there during a blizzard. It’s like being inside a snow globe.
It’s magical. It’s pretty.
One part of the whole snow thing that is never pretty, however, is the annual “cleaning of the garage to make room for the car” ritual. This is when I try to fit an entire garage’s worth of stuff into half of a garage. If I’m fortunate, I find an errant child to assist me.
If I’m extremely fortunate, I get this deed accomplished before the first major snowfall buries my car in the driveway.
Amazingly, this winter, about five hours before the first big snow started falling, my middle child, Harold, and I had managed to clear precisely enough square footage to provide our car a safe haven for the winter months. As we stacked and rearranged items large and small, (mostly, the remnants of my art studio), Harold sighed and complained, as most 15-year-olds are apt to do. His brain, however, is the brain of a future engineer, and as he’s grown older, I’ve appreciated not only his additional muscle mass, but also his ability to visualize where every piece of stuff needs to go to make the puzzle that is our garage fit together.
As we hoisted the last piece of vintage junk (I mean treasure) into place, Harold put his arm around my shoulder and said in his most loving voice. “How does it feel to have your entire life’s work stuffed into a garage?”
You can see why I adore Harold.
To me, there are few things more beautiful than snow as it falls from the heavens. It represents everything good in the world. Purity. Innocence. Its virginal whiteness seems to cover all of the things I’d rather not see. And for a few days or weeks or months, we are living in a fairyland. There is no dirt. No ugliness. Only pure white perfection.
Not to bring up death again (although you know I’m fond of the subject), but when my husband was buried, the ground was covered with a blanket of pristine New Year’s Eve snow. It was like putting frosting on a casket instead of a cupcake. Snow can even make death more beautiful. And anything that can do that is something I don’t ever want to live without.
If I ever write a column that says I’m living in Florida, call the authorities. Because I’ve surely been kidnapped.
Enjoy the snow while it’s here. And enjoy the magic.