The snow is melting now; I’m going to miss it. Oh, I’ll be glad to be able to drive again without worrying about chains and snow shovels. But I’ve enjoyed almost two weeks with a good excuse for not driving, shopping, or doing the usual Christmas run-around. Snow enforced stillness and quiet and convinced me to break rules and traditions. I’ve been content to sip cappuccino and hot chocolate, write, work on this website and take brief breaks to play.
I realize the hardships snow imposes on many – those who need to get to work, those who can’t walk to the local store. Yet, I also marvel at how it seduces people to play outside – especially west of the Cascades where it’s such a novelty. It certainly called me outside for fresh air and exercise more effectively than rain and mud. It seemed to do the same for others. Cross-country skiiers, snowboarders, sledders, dogs off-leash: crowd-wise, it reminded me more of sunny, summer days than the darkest time of the year. And the brightness of the snow encouraged many to linger long after the sun set.
I let this holiday season be about snow. It’s the part of that idealized, post-card perfect Christmas we rarely get here, and all I wanted to do was soak it in without worrying about stringing energy-sucking lights, trimming dead trees, buying expensive hallmark cards or rushing through stores to buy gifts that people politely thank me for but never really want or need. The snow slowed everyone in our family down and gave us the best kind of Christmas day. We gathered around simple food without the usual formality. We found Pink Martini’s Sympathique album and played “Que Sera Sera” several times, reminiscing about how much my partner’s mother loved Doris Day’s version of that song, how she made us laugh, and how much we miss her this Christmas. We exchanged a few presents and listened to my son offer the only gift he could afford on a student budget: strumming his guitar and singing “When First Unto This Country.”
Perhaps next year, I’ll return to lights, trees, cards, and too many presents. But this year, snow was enough.