Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful

I have a theory about all the snow we've had in the IC thus far this year, and when you hear it I think you'll have to agree that it provides an oh-so-elegant solution to a meteorologic conundrum, namely: why did it snow more when we were kids than it does now we're adults?

I know I'm not the only person who remembers great drifts of pristine snow blowing across my childhood winters: snow pants, skiing, fathers cussing and shoveling and throwing their backs out. That hush which descends with snowfall (about which I'm tempted to rhapsodize, but I'm going to resist, because hello, James Joyce? The Dead? Who wants to compete with that?). The fluffy, icy taste of fresh flakes on the tongue. The knock of the radiator and the scrape of the snowplow at five am, announcing a glorious snow day. The bliss of peeling off wet socks and chilled long johns after a day of skiing, and holding frozen toes out to the fire. The excitement of Mom driving into the ditch.

But somehow as I grew older, the snow diminished. Sure, there was the occasional storm which shut down the East Coast and left everyone and her aunt sleeping on wadded-up jackets at Logan and JFK. Sure, there was enough ice to make driving a pain. But winter after winter went by with only one, maybe two real snowfalls. Instead, there were months of brown grass, freezing blue skies, and cars which wouldn't start. I got so used to it that I started to like it; snow began to seem egregious (except on the slopes), a driving hazard, something to be shoveled.

Now, this year, the snow is back, at least in Iowa City. We've had three big snows already, one of which is floating gently down right now and coating the tree branches most satisfactorily. We have a foot of fresh powder on the porch. (It's Iowa, remember? In Wyoming, they have it on the slopes; here, we have it on the lawn.) We have icicles of Snoopy-esque proportions dangling from the eaves. (Remember the Peanuts cartoon with Snoopy stuck in his doghouse, afraid to come out because an icicle was hanging like a guillotine blade over his door? He kept chanting, "I'm just gonna leap up and zoom right out of here. That's it; I'm gonna zoom right out of here.......I think I'll just lie here for the rest of my life." Which is how I feel every morning, but that's another post.) Last weekend we tugged the kids on a sled through a tree farm and selected a Christmas tree, then drove home through the snow feeling picturesque as all get out. This afternoon we're going to a wreath-making party. In short, the snow is INSPIRING, in a way it hasn't been since I was a kid.

Now, you understand that I mean inspiring in the abstract, of course; the actual details of getting two kids in and out of snow boots and suits and hats and mittens, and into car seats,and out of same, WITH one child potty-training, is grim as grim can be, and all I really want to do is snuggle up with a book and read in peace and watch the snow out the window, the hell with all this merrymaking. But still, the snow is here and white and beautiful and seasonal and deep and showing no signs of stopping.

And now for my meteorological's snowing more because I have children, and one of them is old enough to notice. I mean, how's he going to make those memories of deep, splendid childhood snow without actual snow? He's gotta have it, so nature has kindly obliged. Now he can spend the rest of his life wondering why winter doesn't look quite like it did that year in Iowa when he turned three, because damn, this year it's looking classic.

Of course, there's the matter of the icicles making an ice dam which will shortly cause the roof to cave in, but still...


Anonymous WV Mama said...

oh enjoy it while you can.

we too have had a few big snows this year already, but always (so far) on days when Mama and Papa have to go to work so the skis remain unused and the sled unsledded and the snow fort unbuilt (much to the despair of the four-year-old). But hope springs eternal!! Snowmen will gallivant across the lawn soon -- I know it!!

And meanwhile we will go to the wool-spinners open house and two (yes TWO) holiday parties tonight, with the two small boys dressed in their snowman sweaters and continue to make merry while the snow falls. It *is* beautiful and it behooves us to notice, no? (it's the driving to the hospital in the middle of the night in it that is not quite so picturesque. sigh.)

xxx from WV

7:48 AM  
Blogger SER said...

Mark loves the snow. Of course, he is a dog, so we have to watch him to make sure he doesn't get frostbite because I don't think he would be able to give us the heads-up if he were in peril.

I myself am more than a little tired of the snow already. Now that we are homeowners with what I now see is a very loooooooong sidewalk and loooooooong, steep driveway, the snow takes on a very burdensome quality.

Today, more is expected, it appears. Sigh. I do like the icicles, though - at least until one of them maims a passerby and we get sued.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous MFA Mama said...

Now that I have three children under five, and one of them is a delicate little infant who must be covered up and rushed from house to heated car, and one is a toddler who goes limp at the sight of his coat and boots, and the other is a four-year-old who will put his own gear on (wrong) and then jump up and down chanting "comeoncomeoncomeON" while I wrestle with the toddler and drape the infant in blankets? Fuck the snow. I'm never leaving the house again and the REST of you can swoon slowly blah blah as it falls faintly through the universe blah like the descent of blah blah upon blah blah blah...

12:06 PM  
Blogger bihari said...

Yeah, why is it that toddlers do that unbelievably irritating limp-going thing when faced with something--coat, spinach, leaving a house they want to stay in--that they don't want to do? It drives me NUTS.

6:29 PM  
Blogger DoctorMama said...

My toddler LOVES to put his coat on and go outside. I don't. It's a good thing he has a father for things like that.

For a while he wouldn't even take his coat off in the house, which drove me nuts -- he was like a surly junior high school kid pretending he wasn't really planning on staying around.

6:43 PM  
Blogger csla said...

I've lived in L.A. since '91 and normally I'd be thanking the good Lord that we don't have snow here.

But then I went and lived part-time in Iowa for a couple of years. Those two icy winters converted me. I miss snow. I miss the muffled silences and the crunch beneath my feet and the numbed ears that melt in the sudden heat of my toasty home. Here in LaLa land we may not have snow, but we've still got the winter grayness and cold--okay, it only gets down to about 40 degrees at night and usually not below 60 during the day, but you'd be surprised at how frigid that feels when you live in an old Spanish-style building with windows whose quarter inch gaps all around let in the slightest breeze. And we've got nothing picturesque outside those frigging windows to justify our shivering.

9:39 PM  

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