Friday, February 26, 2010
Pleading for Precipitation
And so finally it came.
The snow we’ve been waiting for since the last leaf was raked out of the front yard. We are winter people. We love the things winter brings. The sledding, the snowmen, the skiing, and most of all the snow days.
That magical moment before the sun comes up when the first child to turn on the TV gets to scan through the school closings then leap in the air when ours is listed, rushing through the house with the big announcement. No worries about unfinished homework or sports uniforms that didn’t get washed in time. A free day that hardly feels connected to any calendar, to just hang out and enjoy 24 hours of time off.
We had many of them when we lived in Utah. Some years the spring thaw uncovered Halloween decorations that had been covered in winter’s white blanket for a full six months. There were plenty of snow plows in Utah but sometimes the snow just fell too quickly and we’d get a few magical days off from all school and work responsibilities. We knew we’d have the same kind of life in New York.
The first year we lived here there was plenty of snow - from November through March, with a few really big ones falling two weeks apart in February. There was so much snow that Jeff gathered up our kids and their cousins who were visiting from Georgia, and by the time my sister and I came back from our day exploring in New York City, they had a snow ramp built off the back of our garage. My warm climate nephews were sledding all right, right off the top of Aunt Judy’s garage roof, rocketing into the woods behind her house. Since the day they left our state they’ve imagined we live out our days surrounded by that kind of snow every day of the year.
But this year it has not come around as much as we’d like. Sure there has been snow. My family back in the Midwest has been pummeled by snow storms. Growing up in Missouri, we rarely had big snows and if we did, they came as one big storm in the middle of March. Kind of an end of season last hurrah. Christmas’s were rarely white. This year however, my Missouri nephews not only had snow for Santa, they’ve had snow days in almost every month since.
My sister’s teenagers in Dallas experienced the biggest snowfall their city has ever received. In a climate where they have been known to swim in their backyard pools in February, suddenly they had a snow day because nine inches of snow covered their backyard patio set. My sister never dreamed she’d ever see a snowman standing guard of her backyard shrubs.
And everyone knows about the huge storm that kept our friends in D.C. trapped indoors for a full week. They were going stir crazy as every snow day ran into the next and soon the stockpiled supplies had to be replenished. We watched the news of their storm with envy. We’ve had big storms like that and yearned for one to happen to us this year.
At first it seemed like we might get our wish. The forecast sounded promising. Two big storms in a row, packing as much snow as the D.C. storms, were headed our way. We got the first one, and the snow day that came with it. But then our big second storm fizzled out. To add insult to injury, the second storm didn’t bring snow, but rain instead. Keeping my kids inside, away from the opportunity to play in our newly fallen snow, and washing it away, one drop at a time.
I know from experience that winter is not over. This is New England. We could still get ‘the big one’ before bags of spring potting soil show up on the shelves of the home improvement center. So for now I will have to be thankful for the one almost big storm that did give us one grand snow day. I will cherish the pictures of giant snowmen who grew out of teenager excitement on the night the big storm started. And I will keep the snow shovels standing ready by the mud room door. Because maybe, just maybe, we aren’t finished using up those handy snow days that are so conveniently built into the school year calendar.
I’m ready for at least one more great snowman to stand in my yard before I pull out the trowels and plan spring flower beds.