It is snowing like crazy right now. As I did the last blizzard, I scampered out into the snow in the dead of night, slipping and sliding on bare feet, then scampered right back inside and ate some cherry pie. Magical moments.
Warm and snug in my snuggie, I spent an hour or so reminiscing about other winter storms from my past. There was the huge Illinois ice storm that froze my bicycle to the side of the house for a month and peeled the neighbor's birch tree apart like a giant banana. It lay across their yard in three even pieces, radiating out from the center. It looked like some unseen giant had eaten the middle and left the bark. We were without electricity for two weeks after that monster of a storm, and sat huddled in front of the gas stove, burners on high and swing door wide open to heat the room. I remember it was right around Easter because our baskets were late that year. Mom made up for it by getting all the candy on sale and cramming it everywhere, even filling mixing bowls. I thought it was a lot of fun, like something from Little House on the Prairie: our own modern day log cabin for a brief time. Then there was the blizzard of '71, when Carol Sizemore (my best friend) and I had to dig our way into the backyard because the drifts were over six feet high and we couldn't get out the patio door. It was a blast; we tunneled like hamsters far out into the yard, never once seeing full daylight; just the watery blue glow through the snow all around us. And heavy storms as the years passed, where holly trees had berries encased in golf balls of glittering ice and frozen stalactites draped loaded branches. We took baseball bats to the laden trees and watched the branches snap upright when we hit them, gleeful to be free of the backbreaking snow. We caught snowflakes on our tongues and tried to judge if they tasted different from the month before, as Lucy inferred in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Grilled cheese sandwiches and hot tomato soup waited when we stumbled indoors, shedding layers of zippered down and thick wool, laughing as we caught sight of our frozen hair and glistening eyelashes. Rosy cheeks and bright eyes, white smiles and white landscapes, cold and shivers rewarded with warmth and hot chocolate. Every single time Mom made us powdered hot chocolate, Carol and I would yodel, "Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa...Yo di lay hee HOOOO" like the little stop action Swiss Miss did in the commercial.
I have never lost the thrill of a shimmering winter wonderland. I'm still very childlike in my joy of it, nose pressed to the glass as I recognize how lucky I am to have heat and warmth and a roof. No diamond necklace or sparkling gem is any more beautiful than a slowly drifting snowflake as it spirals down from unreachable heights just for you. No one else will ever see it, a crystal gift from heaven, fleeting as a blink of an eye. There's magic in Nature and wonder in winter. I love the seasons. Each one has its own immense beauty and jaw-dropping awe. So take a minute to see past the slush and pain-in-the-ass hullabaloo and watch a once in a lifetime show unfolding right before your eyes. Then try and catch it on your tongue.