It has happened–that first thick Minnesotan snowfall that makes me giddy and long to put on my snow pants, coat, boots, hat, and mittens. While cold temperatures come with snow, I enjoy the way snow transforms the landscape. The first blanket of snow covers up busyness and detail to show the stark essentials. I hate to walk through the perfectly sifted snow and disturb nature’s beauty. However, given the opportunity, I can’t help myself in climbing snowbanks, sledding, and throwing some snowballs.
On my grandparents farm, my grandpa uses his tractors to plow the snow up into huge piles–perfect for snow forts. As children, my siblings, cousins, and I built tunnels, planned strategic snowball attacks, and raced to climb up and over those mounds. Out in the pasture we’d also huff and puff our way through the thick snow up to the top of the hills and then pile on the toboggan and see how far we could slide (all the time forgetting we’d have to walk that same distance back). No matter how old I get, my stomach still flip-flops those first few times I slide over the edge of the hill onto the downward slope. By the bottom of the hill, I’m in an adrenaline rush though. I don’t know if there is any activity with more spontaneous laughter, whether it’s the tumbling laughter of adrenaline as one slides down the hill, the surprised laughter of loose snow flying in one’s face, or the rich laughter that occurs after abandoning the sled to “save yourself!” Only when we’re tired, hungry, and wet do my siblings, cousins, and I tramp back to the farmhouse to warm up. Food and drink never taste better than after winter gear has been draped over furniture to dry and I have dry socks properly on my feet.
One thing I wait for every winter is a nice, wet snowfall so that snowmen can be made. When I was a young girl, I would wait, weekend, after weekend, after weekend, for my dad to answer my question: “Can we make a snowman?” with a “Yes” instead of “The snow isn’t sticky enough.” On the day my family could make a snowman, my sisters and I would form small clumps of snow and then begin rolling them around the yard until they were too heavy for us to push. Once my dad had made the snowballs big enough, we were responsible for patching in snow to stick the levels of the snowman together and forming a solid base. After that we needed to find sticks for arms from the cottonwoods. Our snowman was always situated behind our house, directly out from our living room windows.
The other thing I think nearly every little kid waits for is the banner on the bottom of the television screen announcing that school has been cancelled. I’m lucky tonight to be able to still feel that same excitement. The college I teach at has cancelled class for tomorrow due to the amount of snow that has fallen and is expected to continue. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a delightful snow day for me to partake in some of my favorite winter activities.
Cheers to remembering that childhood magic.