Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Call of Winter

Up at 5:30 this morning to witness the bittersweet end of a long snow...  (Well, maybe not long by New England standards, but more than 24 hours of snow is pretty long by Philadelphia's watch.)
I hate the end of a snow storm -- watching the last snow flakes drift to earth, stragglers left behind by the rest of the storm as it moves on to blanket some other town with snowy stillness.  Inside I cry, "Stay!  It's not enough yet.  Cars are still moving, people are still digging."  As a kid, I remember pouring over pages of Ideals magazine, longing for the quiet of a snowy night, the thick cotton of snow drifts keeping entire towns cozy and comfy within their homes, windows glowing with warm light that defies the dark and the cold.  No one in those scenes felt a driving urge to head to the local Wawa for smokes, or had the necessity to dig out so they could work the late shift at the local hospital.  Everyone lay wrapped in the security of their homes, the world stood still, and there was no fire brighter or warmer than the fires in their hearts when surrounded by family.  If the snow would just stay, maybe we would be forced to call a timeout to our busy lives (especially at this time of year) and focus on the things that are worth enjoying.

I love the end of a snow storm -- watching the last snow flakes drift to earth, tenacious "holdouts" determined to get to their intended destination, despite the forward locomotion of their collaborators.  The neighborhood is still, the snow glistens like a field of diamonds in the moonlight, thick frosty batting deadens the crackle of humanity and its progress.  In just a few hours, the town will awaken and its inhabitants will spring from its bowels, shovels and brooms in hand, alive with the cold and chattering about things like record snowfall and future predictions.  Conjecture abounds as to just "how much" we got and whether this is the onset of the "snowiest winter" in years.  Neighbors help neighbors and new friends are made as conversation turns from the weather to local sports teams or home improvements made by the new neighbors at "that old house down the street."  The air is frigid but the comraderie is warm.  Small children play at their parents' feet, and older children form new allies in a war of snowballs that eventually breaks out; young and old alike work together on forts and snowmen across the town -- the evidence of their efforts remains long after the heat of the sun has driven the husk of snowflakes from the rest of the landscape.

Well, happy to write some more, but shoveling and snowfort building beckon alike!
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