Nor will there be piles of soggy clothing to dry and wash and dry and wash. No boots strewn at the front and back doors. The sleds won’t leave the garage. Not one birthday party canceled or sports events postponed. I will not make endless cups of hot cocoa with those tiny marshmallows floating on top. Carrots will be used for soup and not noses! The kids are not home.
No worries though folks, my hot cocoa cup is half full. There will still be a pot of homemade soup or stew on the stove. Our backyard birds can eat suet and seed all day long without being interrupted by kids. Steaming coffee will be at the ready. The fireplace will be roaring all day long. Our backyard will have that untouched snow covering that I always loved so much before it got trampled upon by our children! In the past it was usually just the outside of our home that was quiet, now it’s the inside as well.
As I sit, ponder and write I am reminded of my snow childhood. We grew up in the Northeast where snowstorms were a regular occurrence. Maybe it was because I was a child, but we did not spend hours watching Special News Reports for days leading up to the potential threat of a snowstorm. It was mentioned the last five minutes of our nightly news broadcast during the weather segment. Snow was just part of our everyday winter life—it snowed and we went about our business. I don’t know, but it seems people get so caught up in the drama news shows create and #Blizzard2016 is the perfect example.
Why must everyone be encouraged to run to the store and stock up on bread, milk and eggs? Has no one ever lived without these three items for 24 hours before? In all my lifetime I have never seen reports of people dying during a snowstorm because they had no eggs! While I’m at it, why do they report endless news segments on people shopping for salt and shovels? It just befuddles me. It’s just frozen H2O.
As a kid, the best part of a big snowstorm was always the potential for school being canceled. When I tell my kids I walked two miles to school in a blizzard I was not kidding! I remember turning on my radio and listening while some man read every local school name and whether it was delayed or canceled. I tell you those thirty-some minutes were very educational. I learned alphabetizing thanks to the order they rattled them off. I knew the geography of my hometown since districts close by that were read earlier than ours were indicators of whether I should start getting out of my warm bed! Most especially I learned how to wait for information. Today’s children, and it is not their fault, get tweets about school closings directly from their school … no waiting! Everything seems so immediate these days.
But some snow days pack enough punch to slow folks down. People can’t jump in their cars to run endless errands. Kids extra-curricular activities are canceled. People hunker down and just be. Families have time to play outside, watch favorite movies inside and relax together. Neighbors gather at the end of their driveways and chat. I remember when my sister and I were younger we were expected to help shovel. Don’t tell my mom but even though I secretly loved to shovel fresh snow, once we were done shoveling, we would take our sled (with metal blades mind you) down to the store parking lot. We sled until we could no longer feel our toes. Ahh, to be young again.
So even though nowadays when I shovel my back is breaking and my arms cramp up I still get that Peaceful Easy Feeling! (A respectful nod to Glenn Frey!) Something about being in the cold air and fresh snow still makes me really happy. A deep breath of cold clean air as snowflakes fall on my nose still mystifies me. So hey--just maybe I’ll put down the shovel for a bit and build a tiny snowgirl for my bird friends out back!
Moral: Sometimes being forced to slow down can be a really enjoyable thing.
A little gift for y’all: For many years now I have been making and sometimes shipping my special homemade hot cocoa mix to people I love and appreciate. So thanks to the snowstorm, I am gifting my recipe to each one of you. This recipe fills about six pint sized mason jars. The perfect amount to keep a few and share a few!