Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow! Glorious Snow!

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.


litlove said...

March is a winter month in spring clothing! Love that line!

If we hadn't had any snow so far this year, I would be happy to see it. But we've had so much that I'm not necessarily looking forward to receiving more at the end of the week, as we've been promised. But in principle I agree absolutely that there is something gorgeous about snow, particularly when you don't have to go out in it to do the daily slog.

Rebecca H. said...

Well ... maybe I should just shut up :)

Actually, I get your point about woods being pretty when there's no snow but farmland not so much -- I actually think the landscape around here is prettier without snow, but that argument might be harder to make in a place with fewer trees.

That said, we will just have to agree to disagree when it comes to snow!

ZoesMom said...

Ordinarily by this point in the winter I would be shouting in response NO MORE SNOW! However, this particular storm forced me (oh poor me!) into one extra day of vacation so I will refrain from shouting. This time. :-)

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, fingers crossed, then, for your sake, that the snow in the forecast doesn't come.

Dorr, well, growing up where you did, it makes sense that you might not be quite to enamored of the snow (like being enamored of rain in London or something).

ZM, nice how it worked out that way, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Do you still have snow or has it all melted? I completely agree with your month assessment. March is a very cruel month especially in MN. Last week we had a couple of days above freezing and then got snow and then the cold came back and for a few days temperatures were in the teens and single digits. Then yesterday it was over 40 and tomorrow night we are expecting snow and cold again. I do enjoy the snow but at this point in the season when we have had cold and snow since November, I am looking forward to the thunderstorms of summer.

Emily Barton said...

Stef, for the most part, the snow has all melted (except those piles from the plowing). Spring seems to have sprung here today, but I'm not the least bit fooled by it.