all in a flurry…

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

For those of you who do not know me, I am a Southern girl. Born and raised in the great state of Alabama. University of Alabama graduate married to an Auburn University graduate. Even though Robert was born in Ontario, that is merely a technicality. He is a Southern boy and we are a great fit. My girls are Southern girls being raised as such. Manners and respect reign supreme. I’m not saying that we’re all good at using our manners and being respectful all of the time but we’re working on it. I’m also not talking about the “high falutin'” society Southern girl. Not redneck either. There are a great many stereotypes but in my mind it just means being polite and hospitable whenever possible.

Over the past 7 years, we have lived all over the Southeast. Alabama, Tennessee, back to Alabama, South Carolina and then Florida. We never wanted to leave our home town but in our lives, the deal is so often unexpected that it has become expected. But I digress.

The problem is that I now find myself living within throwing distance of Canada. If you have never studied Geography, that is NOT in or anywhere near the South. As the crow flies, we are 12 miles from the shoreline of Lake Ontario. Across the water lies Kingston, Ontario. I’m not kidding. I am a cliche. A fish out of water. A sore thumb. One of these things is not like the other…..that is me in Northern New York.

And now winter has arrived. I know that technically winter will not begin until December 21st but whoever decided on that date was out of their minds. The temperature has not risen above 45 in the last month. It is cold. My van is prepped with new snow tires and antifreeze. Robert has a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We have snow shovels and a service to plow the driveway when necessary. We have a closet full of jackets, snow pants, boots and all of that paraphernalia. I am relieved to have that taken care of but I have to admit that it feels wrong. Just plain wrong.

During my childhood, Mother Nature reserved snow for the times when it was most inconvenient to close school. Just to remind all the grown ups who thought that they were in charge that, in fact, they were not. We had maybe one good snow every other year and it was glorious. I remember one year watching my dad dig a tunnel so the dogs could get outside to use the bathroom. Another time the power went out stranding the staff at our church. We happened to live next door and somehow wound up with them all at our house for a time that felt like forever. I remember it taking 30 minutes to make it to our neighbor’s house across the street for a steaming bowl of chili. Good times.

Here in Northern New York, however, we are in for a world of winter that neither my husband nor I have ever experienced. We are talking about feet upon feet of snow that stays on the ground from now until March. The folks on the Weather Channel keep using the term “lake effect snow”. We had to look it up. One of the items on the school supply sheet from the elementary school was “sturdy snow pants and boots”. We are in for it. There is no negotiating or rationalizing our way out of this one. The time has come.

Today we are having our first real snow. The girls are so excited that they can barely contain their joy. It is adorable and annoying all at once. We have watched the flurries off and on for the past few days but today was the first time that any of it accumulated. We’ve had maybe an inch today. Nothing by New York standards. But it was something major to the girls. So, of course, we had to put on our brand new snow pants, jackets, boots and all of the accouterments and head outside. They made one snowball and quickly used up all of the available snow in the yard. After coming in for lunch there was a little more white on the ground so they made another pass. I don’t know how but they wore themselves out with an inch of snow. No complaints here!¬†They have had their obligatory hot chocolate, a warm bath and are all bedded down for the night. I’m sure that before very long, the newness will have worn off and we will be wishing for greener grass and the warm days of summer again.

As the snow continues to fall outside, I am wondering what all Mother Nature has in store for us this year. I may be ready, but I am definitely not in charge.