A few weeks ago—before our deep freeze– we had the PERFECT Illinois winter snowy day. That day I cross country skied and shot the pictures I posted on this blog a couple weeks ago. My 16 year old son Ronan and his friends sledded all that afternoon. I was secretly smiling that the boys adventures . Are you ever too old to sled?
“There were a lot of kids there. I feel like the parents were looking at all of us weird, since we were older,” Ronan said when he got home, after he said how much fun they had. And how tired they were.
“No way,” I replied. “I remember when we used to take all of you sledding when you were younger.
“ I would watch all the older kids on the hills, playing, having fun. I was so glad that they were having a blast outside, rather than watching TV or playing video games. That they still let themselves be kids.”
So, one simple idea for me this year is to find time to have more fun. Step away from the screens and daily responsibilities, just to let loose and laugh.
Inspiration for this poem was a quickly moving snowstorm we drove through from Indianapolis to Chicago suburbs. Video of this approaching storm (taken my my daughter Devon not me, driving) when it didn’t look like a blizzard yet is online–I loved the snow snaking across the highway.
We estimate we saw 20+ accidents involving 50+ cars during this drive. Even called 911 for one car. It was beautiful but extremely dangerous driving.
Driving in our neighborhood last night, the midst of a raging blizzard, I was stunned at the immediate changes in the landscapes, vertigo with the snow enveloping the car. Driving less than a mile, our Explorer seemed to be struggling up a white river, frozen water undulating across the street. After my drop off and turnaround, I gasped aloud as a ghostly specter arose in front of the car, a whirling dervish directing me home.
The night was long, the night was loud, sixty mile an hour winds sneaking through any available cracks, under shutters, down the chimney, around the vents. We awoke to almost two feet of snow on the ground, the final total the third largest snowfall in Chicago history. Wow!
With no snowblower, shoveling enough for the SUV to get out was a daunting task. The continuing wind picked up the snow as we tossed it, easing our load slightly. But make no mistake, this was hard work, a daunting project.
An obvious day off school–a state of Emergency where we were not allowed on the streets (not that there was anywhere open to go to)-the kids had fun building forts, traipsing through snow past their waist, forming paths, sledding.
A surprise around each corner, drifts where the flats should be, snow piling in unexpected locations, swirls of snow galavanting through the backyards, I toured with my camera. Snap, snap, snap of objects, scenes, dogs and kids to show off the heaps of snow that fell during the night.
Dogs clamored at my feet. With every ball toss they looked as if they were swimming through an ocean of white. The silence of no traffic, no walkers was a bit strange. And we rejoiced when the sun snuck through the clouds, piercing the grey skies.
A day of unexpected freedom, the city shut down. And an even better surprise later when our friend Phil snowblowed out the other side of the driveway, so we can now get two cars out. Maybe tomorrow will bring mail, a paper, some milk along with the frigid temperatures now heading our way. So much for skiing and sledding, as the kids have another day off school, the temperatures struggling to reach zero, drifting snow still causing havoc on the roads.
But I think that every child who lives in a snowy area should have that one storm, the one snowfall they remember into adulthood. A rite of passage for those of us who live with four true seasons. C