It’s pretty when it’s falling gently to earth out of a gray sky, past black empty branches. We imitate it in children’s toys, shaking a globe and watching faux flakes settle in a scene. It sometimes blows sideways, whistling across the ground and cutting through our jackets to chill us. It makes a bleak black and white movie scene backdrop for the panicked struggle of George Bailey or a canvas on which Currier and Ives painted golden light and prancing sleigh horses. We long for a white Christmas and plan vacations around sports that couldn’t exist without it.
Then January comes, and I wish it would go the heck away.
When did the delight of a snowy day become dread and depression? When did snow forts and snowball fights and snow days and snow pants all become bad words? Midwest winters are capricious, but the older I get, the shorter I’d like them to be. I need a little convenient, decorative, festive snow, then I’m done with it. Winter drags on and on, sometimes coating the roads with slush halfway into April. Even though we have lots of modern conveniences to shield us from the temperatures, I long for the warmth of summer and the freedom of leaving the house without a coat and boots and the other detritus of Zone 5 living.
Today we have the drifting, slow dancing variety. Soon we’ll be back to the impossible to drive in, kids home from school, needing to shovel kind. I’ll try to appreciate the meek version while I can, and continue learning phrases of patois to use if I ever get a chance to escape to Jamaica.