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.

snow at last…

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

It’s Friday afternoon and it’s snowing.  All cities around us have already had snow.  All of my friends have been inundated with it this year.  My extended family has suffered through feet upon feet of snow, ice and power outages.  But for us, this is our first snow of the season.  As usual, we live in an area that is on the edge.  You know that line on the radar where white changes to green?  That’s where we live.  When others are getting beautiful snow, we are getting freezing cold wind and rain.  Misery.  I know that many people have had it with the snow this year.  I understand completely.  But as I said before, this is the first time we’ve seen any flakes!  Somehow, the snow gods smiled upon us today and we should actually have enough accumulation to make a snowman tomorrow.  Hallelujah!

A little while ago, I put on my long coat, heated up my mug of tea and stepped out onto the porch for a few moments.  I was instantly calmed.  A smile appeared.  All of the usual noises had been dampened by the snow.  The birds that were in the yard earlier had found their nests and bedded down for the night.  No one was driving on our street.  It was quiet.  A blanket of white had enveloped our neighborhood.  Everything looked clean and fresh.

Nine years ago, I was pregnant with Abigail.  In April of that year, Robert and I went on our last ‘there’s only 2 of us’ trip.  I was five months along in my pregnancy and feeling good so we packed up and headed to Yosemite.  When we got there, the weather was nasty.  Cold, raining and cloudy.  It stayed that way for three days.  Amateur photographer Robert was not thrilled.  We couldn’t see the top of anything.  I’m not ashamed to admit that we were disappointed.

On the last afternoon, it began to snow.  We had dinner in the main lodge where we were staying and headed to our cabin for our last night in Yosemite.  We sat outside and listened to the snow fall.  It was a sound like no other.  One snowflake finding its resting place doesn’t make much sound but the millions of large wet snowflakes falling sounded like a symphony.  The sky was a deep cobalt blue.  It snowed 18 inches that night.  The next morning we headed down the un-plowed road back towards the park.  The snow was brilliant and glittering white in the morning sun.  It was gorgeous.  We were in heaven.  We took one last lap around the park and finally saw all of the grandiose beauty of the mountains.

Tonight as I watch the snow fall through the living room windows, I am reminded of that trip to Yosemite.  It was a wonder filled time in our lives.  Now our children are the wide eyed ones watching through the window as the snow covers their world.  Tomorrow morning, in a flurry of boots and scarves, we will explore the snow as a family.  I can’t wait!

El Capitan