Monday, December 27, 2010

Playing Outside in The Blizzard

At about 11:30 this morning The Wind dropped, The Snow lightened, and The Sun made a valiant effort to shine. When I saw how hard The Sun was trying to facilitate our very great desire to play outside, I felt I owed it an equal effort in return so I announced I was going to bundle up then go outside to make The First Snow Angels of the 2010 Season. Clearly the 2010 Season will be a short one. We fervently hope for a much longer one in 2011!

On a side note, I don't hear New Englanders talk about the one fact of wintry life here that I find just a wee bit tiresome, and that is the necessity of dressing in many, many layers should I wish to play outside in The Snow during A Blizzard. The problem with all the many layers is that after donning one pair of cotton tights, one pair of weather-resistant pants, one pair of fleece-lined waterproof pants, an undershirt, a turtleneck, a weather resistant pullover, a pair of thick socks, a snow bunny fleece headband, padded gloves, snow boots, and a parka (comfort range: 5 degrees F to -45 degrees F), I'm *exhausted* and ready for a nap except that after the struggle of dressing I'm too hot indoors, and have to go outside in order to maintain my usual cool composure. 

I looked for our balaclava
but gave up after a sweaty few minutes of fruitlessly rummaging through the giant basket of gloves and scarves and hats and mufflers that sits in the dining room under a side table.  I was hopeful that my fleece headband and parka hood would be nearly as good.


Astha and I were the first to go out.  I tried to convince Astha that the sun was indeed shining, saying, "See it? See the sun? Behind that tree?" Astha shook her head emphatically, "No, I don't see it. The sun's not shining, Sara." But it was, though faintly, occasionally disappearing behind a gust of wind-driven snow.

Astha made the first snow angel, on the front lawn near where our driveway used to be.  I followed suit, but closer to the road. We made three or four snow angels before Marley, Jacob, and Marley and Astha's elderly dog Ginger joined us. Marley and Jacob began pelting one another with snowballs, then Dean came out and joined in; the snow ball fight made it's way down the driveway, near the barn, culminating in a firestorm of snowballs behind the dumpster (which by the way is still in our front yard though we did call the gentleman who left it here to take it away before the snow arrived, which he has obviously failed to do; maybe if it snows enough the dumpster will be covered in drifts, and then we won't have to look at it all winter).

Ginger The Dog sat down in the middle of the yard and Astha went over to her to discuss things; I wandered over to the front of the house and made another Snow Angel.  Just then Dean emerged from The Barn with Our Inner Tube Snow Thingie (a very thoughtful gift from Dean and Kristen last winter)
and dragged it toward the Coal Room door (our usual means of entering/leaving The Fahm) before inexplicably disappearing inside, with Marley, Jacob, Astha, and Ginger The Dog trailing behind.  I stood there for a minute, waiting, before shrugging, picking up the tow rope, and forging my way through a foot of snow to the Sledding Hill behind The Barn. 

The Sledding Hill is very exposed to the wind, and huge snow devils arose like ghosts of tornadoes past, spinning and glinting, stinging just enough to be exhilarating.  It had turned extremely Windy again, The Snow returned, The Sun continued feebly shining; I put my hood up and snapped shut the rest of the jacket. I was entirely snug in my warm L.L.Bean cocoon, even lying flat in the snow quite comfortably after completing a Snow Angel. 

Lying flat in The Snow during A Blizzard, I discovered today, is absurdly peaceful. Inside my arctic hood, only my own breathing, my excited little heart thumping, and The Wind, were audible. My body felt entirely supported by the soft bed of snow which adjusted to accommodate my shape, exactly as a water bed might.  I breathed in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out, watching the shapes of winter shift around and above me. 

Some weeks ago, my mother sent me this poem, and it proved very true today:
“I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and I believe everything.” -- Anne Sexton 
Perhaps that's why I love The Snow so much, it pleases me somehow that at the age of nearly fifty I get to be in love again and very young and believe everything...