I know, it’s supposed to be Music Monday. I also want to write about my weekend visit with Mr. and Mrs. Musing. And then there’s the book discussion group list of books I’m composing for which Litlove is holding her breath. However, today I want to write about snow. I know, I know. Most of you (especially, it seems, my friends in Connecticut and Chicago) are sick of snow at this point. You may have recently seen a few crocuses pushing their way up through the ground in your back yard (as we have here), and, well, hope had sprung eternal for you, as you began thinking about getting out the porch furniture and eating freshly-picked asparagus. Now, having had to dig your car out yet again this morning, despair has slithered eternal. Even those of you in such unlikely places as England and North Carolina have been telling me you’re sick of snow.
I am quite sure I am one of a mere handful of people who woke up to the blizzard that was raging in Lancaster County this morning and felt like dancing (Bob was one of the others). Despite the fact that my parents were supposed to be flying to England today to spend a month celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and that they were worried this might put a damper on the start of their trip, since this storm has hit south of here as well; despite the fact that Bob had to cancel the Lenten study he planned to start tonight at the church, to which I was very much looking forward; despite the fact that my daily walk is a little more difficult to accomplish when there is 8 inches of snow on the ground; despite all this, I was in seventh heaven. Granted, enjoying the snow is much easier to do when you are well-stocked food-and-drink-wise and work from home, so you don’t have to drive in it. I never could stand driving in the snow, but since I don’t have to do that these days, there was nothing to keep me from an unadulterated feeling of exhilaration as I looked out the window and watched the snow blowing all around the house and the church. What better antidote to slogging through a manuscript whose every other page has you wondering, “Am I ever going to be able to whip this one into readable shape?”
It’s not easy being someone who loves snow and who would probably be perfectly content living in Antarctica. It’s like having a birthday in February. Everyone complains about how horrible your birthday month is (although I have always maintained that March is a much more horrible month for those looking forward to spring. February, which is most-decidedly a winter month, often gives us a few, unexpected warm days as gifts, whereas March – take today for instance – has everyone thinking “spring,” when the reality is that it’s a winter month in spring clothing, typically giving us only a few warm, spring-like days itself. And don’t get me started on April, truly the “cruelest” month, the month when you see women sporting fashionable goose bumps on their goose bumps with their Easter dresses and hats). Add to my love of snow the fact that I’ve never been on a pair of skis, and well, you know, Darwinians must wonder how this poor, poor human specimen has managed to make it this long.
I have always loved snow. Growing up in North Carolina, it inevitably meant school cancellations (yes, even for a two-inch snow storm), and it was such a special treat, because it was so rare. We were more likely to get ice storms than snow storms, but we were guaranteed at least one or two decent storms (3 or more inches) every winter. And we did have a few glorious winters (the winter of ’77 comes to mind, when it seems schools were closed almost all winter, and my siblings and I played Gin Rummy and Hearts all day long, listening to Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, and Supertramp) when we had many more snow storms. The winter we lived in England, where my father had informed us, before we moved, that it never snowed, was one of the snowiest on record there. Again, I can remember long days playing charades and Monopoly with friends from our village, because we couldn’t make it to school. And when we did make it to school, there were snowball fights on the walks to and from the bus stop with boys from the boys’ school. These days, I’m less likely to engage in snowball fights (although at my old company, we were known, on occasion to have Marketing and Sales v. Editorial and Production lunch-time fights) and more likely to sit by the fire with a book (or a manuscript) and just marvel at its still, white beauty.
If this winter and last are any real indication, Lancaster doesn’t get much snow. It’s pretty similar to the North Carolina winters of my youth. Last year, we had a few dustings and one or two very wet storms that produced maybe 3 inches of accumulation at most. This year, we’ve had much of the same, but this is the second significant storm we’ve had. I can’t tell you how much it improves the winter landscape. Farm country, although magnificently beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall is just plain ugly in winter. Think dull brown mustard everywhere you look, and you’ll get the idea. I’m used to living in and around woods, which somehow maintain a certain sort of beauty, even in the winter, even without the snow (although, they are, of course, even more beautiful in the snow). So, I was basking in the snow rather than sunshine today. Days like today make me love Lancaster (a place I’ve come to say I love most in the spring and summer) even in the winter. Still, I will welcome the roadside farm markets and fresh produce (most especially the asparagus) when they start to arrive on the scene.