Youth and old age think different snow thoughts, and a civil war still rages on.
by Marilyn Mackenzie
Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when families travel to be together. At Thanksgiving, I left the comfort, the warmth of my home in Texas and traveled to Michigan. For the first time in years, I was trapped inside, watching as the falling snow whipped and whirled around and the cold, winter wind blew fiercely. Soon, my pen was racing across the page, writing my snow thoughts.
Northern Gal – 5 years old
She ran, giddily, to the window to watch the snow falling quickly from the sky. She rushed to find her coat and boots, afraid that winter’s first real snow would not last. But it did. It was the kind of snow that even adults could enjoy. The snow clung to grass and trees, but melted as it hit the streets.
She made a snowball and flung it at the mailbox. Tiring quickly of winter’s first snow, she trudged through her yard and up to the walkway of her best friend’s home. Joyfully, she entered her friend’s house, the smell of fresh-baked cookies lingering in the air. Her friend’s mom always celebrated winter’s first real snow by making cookies and hot cocoa.
Southern Gal – 5 years old
Curiously, she donned a borrowed coat, hat and mittens. Opening the front door, she was surprised at the cold winds that assailed her. She stood in the middle of the yard, glancing behind her, noticing her footprints in the snow.
She opened her mouth and caught the white flakes in her mouth. She removed her mitten so she could feel the cold, white flakes on her hands. Just as quickly, she shoved her hands back in the mittens, noticing that her hands didn’t warm as quickly as they had cooled.
In movies, she’d seen kids throwing snowballs. But when she picked up a handful of snow and tried to throw it, the snow just dropped to the ground at her feet.
She ran to the door, inviting her relatives to come out and play. They informed her that there wasn’t enough snow to make a snowman yet.
She went back inside, dropping the borrowed winter wrappings next to the door. As she sat at the window, she wondered why anyone got excited about the white stuff. It was just cold.
She decided then and there that she preferred making sand castles at the beach.
Northern Gal – 50 years old
Absentmindedly, she revved up the car’s motor. A few "swoosh-swooshes" of the windshield wipers erased the evidence of snow. It was a damp snow, one that wouldn’t hamper driving in the least, unless the temperature dropped and ice replaced the wetness on the road. She wondered, briefly, if she should have left the house a few minutes earlier. She didn’t want to be late for work.
Every once in a while, she wondered what it might be like to awaken on Christmas day in a warmer climate, with temperatures of 70 degrees. But she dismissed the thoughts just as quickly. She couldn’t really imagine Christmas without snow. Even in years when snow was scarce, God seemed to send a few snowflakes on Christmas Day.
From October through April, she was prepared for cold and snow. When the first spring birds sang, or the first flower peeked out from the ground, she rejoiced, surely, that warmer weather was near.
The changing seasons made her appreciate each one for its beginning and its ceasing. There was a time for everything.
Southern Gal – 50 years old
She pressed her nose against the windowpane, feeling the cold, and shuddered. Beautiful white flakes of snow fell hastily from the sky. The wind bent the branches of the trees outside the window, but she was safely secured indoors, wrapped in layers of clothing.
She borrowed a coat and gloves and ventured out to experience winter’s ire once more. She leaned her head back and opened her mouth, allowing the huge, cold flakes to land and melt there. Just as quickly, she closed her mouth, remembering someone’s words about precipitation pollution.
She used to live in a northern clime, used to trudge through snow and ice to walk to school. But that was long ago. Now she was accustomed to warmer weather. She enjoyed sending pictures to her northern relatives of sunbathers on New Year’s Day.
Realizing that she was shivering, she returned quickly to the warmth inside. As she hung up the borrowed coat, she gazed out the window. Cars streaked by, their drivers seemingly oblivious to the falling snow.
She pressed her nose against the cold windowpane once more. That was really as brave and cold as she wished to be.
She thought, "Snow is pretty to watch from inside." She much preferred the feel of white sand squishing between her toes. Southern snowmen were her favorites – stuffed ones, or maybe even ones built from sand.
She realized that once in a while she should return to cold climates. Being chilled, seeing and experiencing ice and snow and cold, wintry winds helped her appreciate her warm home. How blessed she was to live where snow adorned only winter pictures or Christmas cards. How blessed she was, indeed.