February 11th, 2010 by Rainey

As my husband has said, we have just made it through some sort of insane snowpocalypse here in Wchester.  What started with a storm that dumped about 3 feet of snow on us ended yesterday with another half foot or so and crazy winds that created snow drifts even higher than before.

I have never much beat around the bush about it: I do not like snow.  My mother, who is a native Ohioan, can’t understand my antipathy towards the white stuff, remembering fondly, I suppose, days of yore when she frolicked and sledded and generally enjoyed being cold.  I, on the other hand, have never lived as far north as I do now.  And, though people had been threatening me with stories of bad winter weather, for the first five years or so of living up here, it had all been pretty mild.  I could deal with it.  Well, that has all come to a bitter end with drift upon drift of the foul stuff piling up on our cars, our sidewalks, our roads…

Now, I know that I should begin looking at the positives.  Isaac and I, each night, have begun to talk about what we are thankful for as we say a modified version of evening prayers.  I list things and he will throw out other ideas as he nurses….”CAT!”  etc.

We have recently been talking about how thankful we are that we have a safe, warm place to live and food to eat and a way to cook that food on these cold days and nights.

But, despite my groaning, I am learning to be thankful for more than that.

1.  I am thankful for the joy that the snow has brought Isaac.  He absolutely loves going out in the foreign white world.  He is hemmed in on all sides by the walls of the path his father painstakingly created from the backyard to the front.  It has been such a novel experience to have him have to stay put within confines that are rigidly set.  But because the snow is taller than he is, he does just that, choosing instead to pick up large chunks of it and throw them or try to eat as much snow as he can before his cheeks go numb from the cold.  When the wind isn’t blowing, he seems to like the snow just fine.

2.  I am thankful for my husband’s ability to shovel the daylights out of some heavy, wet snow, creating the afore mentioned paths for Isaac and I to walk on, and also digging out our cars so that I wouldn’t go completely insane from cabin fever.

3.  I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know my neighbors.  Sandy shoveled out our next-door neighbors car and sidewalks.  She brought us brownies to thank us.  (Actually, let me clarify.  This is our no-bones-about-it-crazy-neighbor.  I will save the stories for another time.  In reality Sandy dug out her sidewalks.  She then brought us brownies and a thank-you note that also included the request to dig out her car ‘in case of emergency.’  Four days later I am pretty sure she has not gone anywhere.)  Barring our crazy neighbor though, we have also met neighbors down our little road who seem perfectly sane as we all converged on the sidewalk to shovel together.  We talked about our kids, the snow, snow gear, where we worked.  Our dogs and children gleefully jumped through the snow together, reveling in the first blue sky in days.  It was really nice.  Later, when a truck got stuck that blocked the whole entrance to our neighborhood, I pulled up to try to come home.  A guy I had met that sunny day ran up to me to fill me in.  They were all out putting chains on the man’s tires.  Yesterday, Sandy pulled over to try to get someone’s car unstuck.  As he worked a van full of men pulled up  beside us and three men piled out, one with a cowboy hat on no less, grabbed a shovel, and happily pushed the car on the road together.  Then we all got in our cars and went on our way.  Snow has a way to bring us together.  It shakes us out of our cars and work-bound routines, forcing us to slow down and talk to each other, help each other.  That has been good.

4.  I have really enjoyed the way the snow has made me slow down and spend time at home this past week.  I have baked animal crackers with Isaac and played long, strung-out imagination games with him and Sandy.  We have read books together and Sandy and I cooked together for the first time in recent memory.  I am a type A person.  I like to plan my days and my weeks.  But when something like this happens I am forced to slow down and open my eyes a little bit.  Try to enjoy the present moment without worrying about the next few days.  That has been painful in some ways.  But good for me.

So maybe snow isn’t all that bad.  It has some benefits, though I must say that if I don’t see snow like this for another five years, I won’t be sorry.

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