Monday, January 22, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow ... OK, Stop.

Despite (or perhaps because of) growing up in Colorado, I have long been a valiant foe of cold weather. I loathe it. I simply loathe it. So this winter has been pretty near perfect. Day after day of 40 and 50 degree weather. Warm enough to only need a light jacket, but cool enough to entice me to use my seat warmers. And as a special treat, a few weekends that hit the 70s just to remind me of the joys of summer. It was delightful, and I never wanted it to end.

And yet, yesterday when it started to snow big fluffy flakes I couldn't help but feel excited. Since I've lived in DC snowstorms have been a bit of a production. The mere mention of snow will send shock waves through the community as people rush the supermarket for bread and milk, schools do preemptive closing -- just in case -- and the streets empty as people hunker down to watch the "Team Coverage" of the snow reports on TV. All for a meager inch or two of the white stuff. At first I scoffed at the pandemonium, but now, I avoid the supermarket and happily take my snow-days.

Maybe it was because our little storm came on a Sunday, or maybe it was because our warm winter had folks excited for the cold snap, but our first storm of the season was surprisingly low-key. Whatever it was, I caught the fever and was as excited as a little kid to see the snow falling again. Kids in DC don't understand what it's like to have a real snow day. They are pretty much guaranteed to have at least some time off if it happens to snow (or threaten to snow). In Colorado, a snow day is only possible if the storm is really, really bad, and the school buses can't make it to the country roads. (Thank you Hippies for living in the middle of nowhere and giving me snow days!) DC kids don't know the sweet agony of anticipation you get running between the window, to make sure the snow is still falling steadily, and the TV to see if your school has scrolled along the bottom with the other closures. It's enough to give a kid a heart condition.

But yesterday I wasn't necessarily excited to get off of work, although that was a distinct and welcome possibility. I was more interested in having just a taste of winter. Not too much, mind you, but a little tiny bit. And two inches was just about right. Enough to make you want to sit on your couch and watch the flakes fall. Enough to shovel - and I love laying in my bed in the early morning listening to the sound of snow being shoveled off of the walks. (I don't love this sound quite so much if I'm on one end of the shovel.) I love tottering over icy walks, skating my boots along, wondering if it would be overkill to put on some crampons. I love looking like a marshmallow in all of my Columbia gear. I love breathing in and having your nose hair freeze - and then crunch as you stretch your nose. All of these things remind me of being a kid. And it's nice to have the unadulterated excitement of childhood back, if in some small measure.

All in all, it's been fun playing at "Winter" and if it wants to snow a little bit more this week I wouldn't mind. Especially if I get out of work. But, let's not get carried away. I'm completely expecting to be back to our regularly scheduled Warm Winter by next week. At which time, the complaining about the cold will resume.

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