Embracing snow is hard for me to do. I can appreciate its beauty… for awhile… and its benefit to the environment as our future water supply. Occasionally I will play in it as well. But I’m done. I apologize for this mini-rant to my friends who live in areas that can still expect falling snow for some time to come. But I’m done. I did my snow penance in upstate New York for years where 5-6 months of falling snow could easily be expected. It should be noted that the 5-6 months mentioned does not account for the time it takes the snow on the ground to disappear. The Californian in me simply can’t take it… but I’m trying to.
So when one of our neighbors from the end of the street came over to let us know that their grandson was visiting and wanted to know if Little Man wanted to come over and play in their igloo, I jumped at the chance. These neighbors are also relatively new to our street and live in the original farmhouse for the area. When the snow isn’t ever present, they have amazing gardens and orchards, as well as a wooded area that Little Man calls the Enchanted Forest. We love to visit whenever we get a chance, and throw in the possibility of an igloo… we’re there.
It took FOREVER to get Little Man suited up in his gear, with the inevitable need to go potty right when I got the last piece of snow garb in place. Eventually we made it out of the house and started ambling as quickly as his little snow-panted legs could carry him. On the way there another neighbor saw us in snow gear and offered to loan their plastic toboggan. So into the toboggan Little Man went, and off I mushed like a good sled dog. Who needs a gym membership? Just drag your toddler across and over snow drifts to feel the burn.
We slalomed up and down tractor tread impressions and around a cars, then across their farm house’s front yard, back into the orchard towards the sounds of infectious little kid laughter. When we got there, low and behold, an igloo graced the area where last fall a pumpkin patch stood. As an anthropologist I was immediately impressed with their igloo. It wasn’t the real deal, but after studying Inuit culture, as well as multiple screenings of Nanook of the North and Atanarjuat it looked pretty good. It had the key hole entrance, domed roof, and looked nice and sturdy. Little Man clambered right in and would have stayed in there for quite some time except for the other little boy in there who started poking holes in the ceiling and dropping snow on Little Man’s head. He retreated to better structural safety and clambered around the woods.
It was with the igloo that I realized that my Southern California upbringing, all my time at the beach and hiking around in the chaparral, did nothing to prepare me for how to play in the snow. My goal of embracing the snow for at least short periods of time is going to require some added “research” on how to play in it.
For this day we did good. We played in and around the igloo for a bit and then sled dogged it back home for lunch and nap. Before leaving we made plans to meet up with our friends again after little boy nap times for sledding. Dave was able to be home for that, which was great. Our gardener neighbors had offered us the use of their great sledding slope, and we used it with reckless (almost) abandon. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down we went. Each time at the base of the hill Little Man would gaze off at the distant snow-capped mountain and twice he tried to get us all to walk there, like he had after playing on the frozen pond a few weeks back.
The day ended as all good snow days should. Warm bath. Hot cocoa. Delicious dinner together. Deep sleep. Not quite embracing the snow (please go away snow… please…), but pretty good for me.