Blogger’s Note: I’ll have more fresh stuff soon. In the meantime, this snowy weekend brought to mind another old column from my newspaper days. This one ran in the Tuesday, October 28, 1997, edition of The Pioneer, Big Rapids, Michigan, just a few days after Jodi and I moved into our first house. Hope you like it.
I’ve always enjoyed snowy mornings. Some I remember in particular like the [morning of] my birthday eleven or twelve years ago.
My best friend Kevin and I stayed outside ’til well after dark [the night before], playing hide-and-seek from the dog in the piles of brown oak leaves around the yard. The next morning Kevin peeked out behind the blind and announced it had snowed.
“Yeah, right,” I said, and rolled over to sleep.
“No, really,” he persisted. I got up to look, and all thoughts of sleep vanished at the sight of the downy white blanket.
That’s how snow comes — soft and silent. Sunday’s light accumulation scarcely made a sound. Saturday my grandfather had brought his lawn tractor and push mower to cut grass a month and more high; Sunday he brought his sweeper and more than a month’s worth of clippings so they wouldn’t suffocate the lawn.
Thence came the snow. Jodi and I were surprised to find our new yard white to a depth of four inches.
Such mornings are made for sitting home and enjoying. My dog Boomer, a great furry Airedale, understands this — on clear, cold South Dakota evenings, while local news anchors warned of deadly wind chills, Boomer could be found curled up on the ground, snow swirling about his head. He’d lie outside until the trail back to his house filled in, enjoying the quiet.
My sister and mother and I spent a good portion of the weekend painting what is to become the master bedroom and baby’s room — achieving whiteness in rooms once blue and yellow. There are few things more maddening than a hint of color beneath new white paint.
Mother Nature, I think, agrees. An upstart maple in our front lawn scattered leaves, first across the newly-mowed and -swept lawn, then across the new-fallen snow. Both Mother Nature and I stopped and frowned.
The truth, with trees as well as people it seems, is that we cannot leave the snow alone for long. For the young, the snow brings with it opportunity. It lies like a blank canvas, and the red leaves of the young maple are as much a part of the day’s enjoyment as are the footprints and angels and snowmen of children.
And as it turned out, I had no right to frown at dry leaves — reveling in the morning’s cold, I cut a path to our cars and stomped rough ovals around both of them, brushing off snow. By the time I’d managed to back out of the driveway, I’d stained the snow brown with grass, gravel and leaves, effectively ravaging the virgin beauty of the morning.
The debates of superintendents and transportation supervisors, of meteorologists and school-children, would be moot could we all grasp this simple truth: snow is best and most beautiful left undisturbed. The first set of tracks across a snowy field and its beauty is diminished; the first perpendicular cut by a shovel or plow spoils it altogether.
The road to town was slush-covered and edged in browning snow. By mid-afternoon, the world outside was road grime and mud — all because we lacked the sense to stay at home and enjoy the day.