The first real snow of winter rolled through Boston on Saturday. The next real snow was dogging its heels and would make itself felt with some spectacular swagger a few days later. Kid winter is so different than grown-up winter. Kid winters are faces smudged to the window glass, ogling the fat flakes, bouncing on your heels like you’ve got a bladder buster in your excitement to get out and sled and play and snarf down the fluffy, white pure stuff. Kid winters are not long enough, the drifts not high enough to perch on, playing king of the mountain, pelting your friends with snowballs. Kid winters are things of exquisite pleasure.
Grown-up winters are SHOVEL-full. They are a string of curse words trailing into the wind as the area you just spent a half hour digging out is filled in again with one sweep from the plow’s mechanical hand. Grown-up winters are white knuckled commutes when the office ends up closing at noon anyway and you’re spit back out on the road with a newly groomed race of people called “F*&^ing Morons Who Don’t Know How To Drive In Snow” (it’s a tribe that seems to spawn at an alarming rate, sometimes by the minute. Science, aka Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is working to find answers). Grown-up winters are thick with worry about trees falling on power lines or tilting precariously close to the house punctuated by the occasional concession that skiing is great thanks to all this powder, but really, who wants to be THAT guy ruining the grousing for the rest of us?
I may be exaggerating, but just a tad. Some people never lose their childhood, wide-eyed wonder when the white stuff hits. These are the same people who talk about squeezing the proverbial lemonade from lemons and start schools for children in Uganda. We don’t know what makes them like this; again, science, aka Neil DeGrasse Tyson, is working to find answers.
Kid or grown-up—when it snows, it’s a big, fat deal. This was the agreed upon gist this past weekend when forecasters called for a potential half foot of snow. Maybe it was the sigh of the first “weather event” of the season, which is always a little romantic (even when it freakishly comes in October) and self-deluding. By the time winter ramps up again, you’ve been sufficiently brainwashed by other lovely seasons to block out the headaches and hassles of dealing with nature’s frosting. I noticed something different watching post after post scroll through social media:
Snow! YES! I soooo need this day in!
Looking forward to a cozy day in front of the TV. Netflix recs? And..GO!
Bring it, Winter. I’m ready with my blankets, books, and tea.
Everyone needed a break from…well, life it seemed, since winter had failed to show up in any noticeable way so far. We were not just hunting around for an excuse, but for a real reason to justify our desire to slow down, to switch off, to get still, and to just BE. The snow was our Get Out of Jail Free card, our doctor’s note, our royal pardon from trying to outpace ourselves on the regular. It says a lot about where our minds are these days, which is everywhere but here and now. And it says even more about how much we crave the embrace of collective recognition: “You too? ME TOO!” No one wants to admit they’re losing the race, unless someone else is willing to call surrender first, and even then, it helps to have a scapegoat: “I’m just taking a time out because winter’s making me, not, you know, because I just want to or because I’m dangerously close to losing my shit in a terrifically epic way.”
This feels like a stressful way to make a go of it in any season, regardless of your kid or grown-up status.
Today winter is throwing a tantrum. Today we really have no other choice but to pull up a comfy seat, quiet ourselves, wait it out, and see what we can take from the day with us when the clouds part, the flurries stall, and life resumes speed again.