So! Much! Snow!

Most kids I know simply can’t resist playing in the snow.  It’s free, it’s fun, and it falls, seemingly endlessly, like an exciting and unexpected present from the sky.  It’s an instant playground, regardless of how much time has been sunk into the planning and construction phase.

It’s the epitome of free play, literally and figuratively, as it requires little to no “stuff,” and very little structure.  Kids play games, countless variations of those games, and it seems with each flake that falls, new and exciting previously unthought-of of games.

Each Christmas, the sort of “toys” my kids have on their lists changes.  But when it comes to excitedly embracing a snow fall, little has changed.  Even my 13-year-old, who no longer takes snow pants to school and resists wearing any form of practical footwear, was thrilled to see the snow finally falling.

Put a kid out in the snow, and the pull is irresistible.  They are going climb, dig, build, throw and play…and play and play and play.

On the other hand, most adults I know are no fun when it comes to snow.  Each year with the arrival of winter, those of us living near a snow belt can shake our heads dejectedly while telling ourselves…we knew it was coming.  But this year, after the absence of a real summer, I seemed to have lulled myself into subconsciously thinking that, winter might fail to make an appearance, as well.

Apparently, subconsciously or otherwise…I was wrong.

Until recently, going outdoors had been an experience in mildness and manageability.  And now, during winter’s vengeful arrival, it seems like there is lost time to make up.

During the first blast, with my kids home safe from school, I was able to appreciate the beauty of the fresh, thick layer of clean, white snow which had blanketed the trees and lawn in the backyard.

I was enjoying the warmth and glow of the fire as I sauntered over to, and opened the door to let the dog out into the winter wonderland I felt sure she would enjoy.  But the snow, which had swirled around the deck and accumulated about a quarter of the way up the door, dropped heavily, like a mini avalanche, into the house.  The dog looked at the heap of fluffy white stuff on the floor, looked up at me, and walked away.

I tried another door, and was met by the same; the snow stood for a second, and like the piece of toast hits the floor butter side down, fell into, rather than away from the house.

Eventually the dog had no choice but to head outside and soon after, limped back in with tiny little snowballs caked to the long hair on her legs, and snow-turned-ice solidly packed into the pads of her paws.  Almost impossible to remove, I knew that these would gradually melt into little puddles throughout the house, waiting to be wiped up, unexpectedly by my socks.

The kids too, seem to magnetically attract the snow, often bringing in more than they actually shovelled off the driveway.  Unfortunately, they don’t listen as well as the dog when I tell them to “stay!” in the entrance way in order to brush off the loose snow.

Another favourite time of year is often heralded by the arrival of snow: Christmas holidays.  Given the weather of this past week, it appears that we can expect a white Christmas.  There’s so much to love about the holidays, but frankly…as long as it isn’t all over the floor, I happy with whatever colour it happens to be!

originally appeared in the Waterloo Region Record