Snow reminds me of the saying about fish and visitors. After about three days, both start to stink.
Let’s start at the beginning. Being a Southern California kid, I didn’t grow up with snow. If we wanted a white Christmas we drove to it—that is, if the San Bernadino Mountains even saw snow before Christmas. In the Southland, if the temperature dropped to the point that you could see your breath, that was winter. Turn on the television New Year’s Day and watch the parade in Pasadena. It’s sunny, a chipper blue sky with snow capped mountains in the background; “A chilly start to the new year,” the commentator might say. Chilly. It’s about 60 degrees—with the daytime high expected around 70.
So I love the snow—when I don’t have to be somewhere. I stand at the fireside and watch from the window. In the time it takes to finish a steaming mug of coffee and a slice of homemade gingerbread, this ballet of snow transforms the landscape. Quiet, peaceful, this amazing feat of nature reminds us it’s a wondrous world, and we should get out and enjoy it.
Soon, squat little figures in colorful coats, beanies, and mittens appear on the hillsides with sleds and garbage can lids. Families build snowmen (or snowpersons) on front lawns. I tug on the snow boats and grab the leashes because the dogs love the snow too, until snowballs form in their paws. We stop. I scoop out the frozen balls, and we’re on our way again.
The novelty, however, as we all know, wears off much faster than the snow melts. Snow that must be shoveled makes the driveway seem a lot longer. Nobody (but me, of course) knows how to drive in it. The city plow trucks only clear the roads nobody uses. There’s gravel in the carpet and scratching the wood floors. There’s nothing tranquil or virginal about this sully slushy mess soaking the cuffs of my wool trousers (Hey, dry cleaning is expensive).
And the house smells like wet dog.
But enjoy—or tolerate winter as long as it’s here. Before long it’ll be time to complain about the summer heat wave.
And I can’t imagine the freeway traffic if it snowed in Southern California.
(Read the first and second posts of Christmas by clicking Cerebrations.)