Monday, December 14, 2009

Winter Memories

Cindy's post yesterday sparked the thought for mine today. Winter has settled not so gently over the area with a blizzard last week and freezing rain expected early this week. As I check the weather forecasts daily and mentally adjust schedules in case of bad weather, it occurs to me that I now look at winter and snow through an adult's eyes.

I'm not quite sure when this happened. I suspect about the same time I started carrying gloves in the pockets of every coat and buying winter boots again. Sometime between that teenage oblivion to the temperature and the day I started insisting the automatic battery jumper was in my vehicle before setting out on a trip.

And when I look outside at the gorgeous snow (and yes, it's beautiful before it's all crusty and gray and dirty), sometimes I miss being able to see it with a child's eye. Granted, I still enjoy snow days just as much :) but now they are accompanied by the worry of how far into June my school year will extend. I'm not going to lie and say I do *any* shoveling, but I do feel sorry for my sweetie when he's out there for hours.

When I was a kid I remember having far more snow than we get these days. Snowdrifts were as high as the curbside mailbox. Of course I never thought of the work my dad put into getting the snow into those drifts. With the rosy memory of youth I figured he enjoyed his time shoveling as much as we enjoyed digging a fort into the side of drift. When we got older and more sophisticated we'd drag the hose out and spray it so it'd ice over, ensuring our work would last all winter.

Sometimes when the drifts were high enough we'd have a fort on either side of the driveway, one for the boys and the other for the girls. The snowball fights that ensued most likely created another shoveling issue for my dad. I just remember they tended to be vicious and short-lived. No matter how many snowballs we had ready, we lacked the throwing ability and sheer bloodthirstiness that propelled my brothers to victory, every time.

We used to ice skate. There was a large outside rink at a nearby park that had live music and romantic moonlight circles around the rink (or at least as romantic at twelve year olds can get.) Although our parents never knew it, we also skated indiscriminately on the creek nearby, jumping the barb wire fence and the dam with a fearlessness that has long since escaped me.

When the snow was piled especially high, yes, we'd even jump off the bridge onto the drift. I will admit being petrified to do it, but I mentioned having three older brothers, right? The possibility of breaking a leg didn't measure up to being called a 'baby' by any of them.

We had a toboggan and sleds with the old-fashioned metal runners. We'd use them on a huge hill outside of town. The next door neighbor had a snowmobile and the dad would have all of us pile on a toboggan hitched to the back and take us sledding for hours.

When I was older a large group of us would trek to MN or WI to go skiing and I'd pretend to have fun. Okay, I am so not athletic. And falling down gets old fast! But when my kids got old enough I'd don my winter clothes and take them outside and help build snowman, and teach them how to build snow forts (if you don't have a drift handy.) For several years my husband and I had snowmobiles and that can be fun if you travel to where they have trails through the woods and lakes to ride across. There's a sort of spiritual quality to riding along pristine snow and seeing the evergreens boughs heavy with the latest snowfall.

Somehow I seem too busy and cold these days to contemplate the snow with anything other than a wondering eye. But I'm making a vow that as soon as the grandchildren get here next week, I'm teaching them how to make snow angels. And try to recapture a bit of the wonder that used to accompany snow.

19 comments:

Cindy Gerard said...

Oh man. thanks for the trip down memory lane, Kylie.
We used to have sledding parties when i was in grade school and even high school. We'd all get together at someone's house, bundle up then go kill ourselves on some big hill in someone's pasture. I remember lots of bruises and frozen fingers and toes.
and don't get me started on ice skating. I have weak ankles. i couldn't keep 'em straight to save my soul if i skated forward but I was a regular Kristi Yamaguci when i went backwards.
We love it when the little ones come home. Tom gets out the 4-wheeler, attaches the toboggan on the back and all 4 of them pile on looking like Michelin Men all wrapped up in their bubble coats and snow pants and boots. When they fall off they can barely get up because they have so many layers on. They love it and so do we

Kathleen Eagle said...

We got a couple of inches overnight, and when I too our black Lab out this morning, I marveled at what a gorgeous picture she made against the snow. I got a Furminator a couple of weeks ago, and she's as sleek and shiny as a seal once again. (Put the Furminator in the "Great Gadgets" category. It works miracles on shedders.)

Ah, memories. We had a huge backyard skating rink when I was a kid. Three backyards long with an added side yard circle. I remember Daddy going out at night in his Air Force "Thule Greenland Gear" to flood it so that it was smooth as glass and glittered in the morning sun.

Snow angels! You had to stand up carefully and jump as far as you could so didn't mess them up.

It's such a joy to see fresh snow through a child's eyes. Or a frolicking pup's!

Indigo said...

I haven't been ice skating in years. I do have a snowball fight at least once a year though with Paul. It's too easy he's 5'11 to my 5'1 and doesn't hide well. The trick is to have a hat with flaps, like Elmer Fudd. Keeps the snow out of the ears and away from the neck.

One year we were actually outside in our pajamas chasing one another around the car. Don't ask...Flannel pj's and snow seem to be a theme with me.

Add in Pickles the wonder dog who loves snow as much as I do. I frequently forget how old I am. Can't wait to hear about your escapades with the grandkids. (Hugs)Indigo

KylieBrant said...

Cindy, I had weak ankles too! But I couldn't skate backwards to save my life.

KylieBrant said...

Kathleen, we had a large double lot before we moved and my dad used to ice down half of it for our skating rink. I'd almost forgotten about that.

And the Furmigator sounds like a great gift for my kids' dogs!

KylieBrant said...

Indigo, bob and weave, bob and weave, LOL! That's how to avoid those snowballs!

Michele Hauf said...

Sigh... Such wonderful memories. We used to do it all too. Sledding, snowcats, snow forts, snow angels, snowball fights. I remember in winter (much as summer) we'd be out ALL day. Only mom would call us in every hour or so just to make sure we weren't freezing our cheeks. We'd hate having to go inside! But you know if you build a good snow fort, you can sit inside one of those for hours and it's really toasty. Oh! Icicle fights!

Debra Dixon said...

Kylie-- I love that igloo picture! We so seldom get snow in the South that we pretty much dance and celebrate it with the kids.

The snow days are built into the school schedule so we rarely have to extend.

What we get concerned about is the ice. That can be a problem with freezing rain.

Debra Dixon said...

Icicle fights? That sounds awful.

You could put an eye out with those things!

Debra Dixon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KylieBrant said...

Michele, I remember staying out so long, I'd have to sit in a warm bath to thaw out! We didn't want to come in. Boy, has that changed!

KylieBrant said...

Debra, I don't remember getting ice storms as much when I was a kid. Maybe because I didn't find it exciting?

Helen Brenna said...

I can tell you EXACTLY when I stopped looking at the snow through a child's eyes. It was when I got my first car and had to start driving in it! lol My first blizzard, as a matter of fact. 18 inches of snow in less than 12 hours and I got my little Dodge Colt stuck in my apartment parking lot!

When I had kids, though, (and a garage) I reverted back to enjoying the sledding and fort building and taught both my kids to downhill ski. Yep, fun days!

KylieBrant said...

Yes, Helen, there's something about being faced with the adult ramifications of snow that makes the childhood delight in it dim!

Michele Hauf said...

Deb, no eyeballs were sacrificed during my childhood forays. After that first strike, your sword of ice usually breaks in half anyway. Now I know why there are no Arctic knights. ;-)

Christie Ridgway said...

Wow. You guys live in another world from this SoCal girl. We go to the mtns where in-laws have a second house and I like to look at the snow, but do not like to be in it or drive in it. I think it's because I don't have the right clothes or any experience with navigating snow.

But I do like a rainstorm...

KylieBrant said...

Christie, I recall a Nora Roberts character maintaining that skiing was invented so people could pretend snow was fun, LOL. But there really are tons of fun things to do in the snow. I just wish the temperatures didn't bother me so much!

Keri Ford said...

aww...I look at all the pictures and it makes me want to move! I want to do all that sledding and fighting--and yes, I wouldn't mind the shoveling! Are you kidding? You can't hardly find a better total body workout than shoveling.

None of that fluffy white stuff comes our way. We get plowed with ice.

KylieBrant said...

Keri, the ice is far worse. It's winter with none of the fun, isn't it? My son and grandkids live where they rarely get snow but they have a terrible ice storm at least twice a winter. I really worry about them on the roads at those times.