Four score and 20 days ago, I went outside.
By New England standards, this has been a fairly mild winter. However, I am still growing winter legs from the amphibious like stumps that were buried under my west coast DNA. Well into our fourth winter in Vermont and my favorite part of the season is its late-March or early-April death.
The children are a split. Two born in Los Angeles; two born in Vermont. Two who constantly ask when we are returning to Universal Studios; two who eat blocks of cheddar cheese and beat our fence with homemade clubs fashioned out of the branches of fallen tree limbs.
The closest to winter I ever experienced as a child was while briefly living in Virginia. I remember thinking that the best part of the season was that the stash of chocolate I hid in my coat never melted. As far as I can tell, this may still be the best part of this season. Cold chocolate and laundry that can sit and sit and sit in washing machines without mildewing. Winter “magic”.
I’d like to say that moving to a state that wears winter like a bear wears its full coat in…well, winter would be just the toss into the deep end of the pool this seasonally challenged mother needed. Unfortunately, I’m stubborn when it comes to frostbite and buying a $22 pair of socks. Also, I am too short to pull off the snow bunny look. Snow Oompa Loompa? ON IT.
We have lived here since the eldest was 2. She is currently bounding toward 7, and despite my winter troll-like tendencies, has started to develop an appreciation for winter. She no longer cries when placed in the snow. Every snowman, woman and child on our property was made by her as I watched from the window with my coffee, occasionally tossing carrots, hats, gloves, scarves and thumbs up of praise out of the back door. She is ice skating, cross country skiing and participating in a Winter Survival course through our local Recreation and Parks Department. Through her, I’ve learned that, apparently, winter survival is not sitting at a ski lodge drinking hot toddies while watching snow people throw themselves down hills on metal shoe boats. Who knew?
She wears each new bump, lump and bruise as a badge of winter awesome and her rosy cheeks shine like a beacon of hope making me think that maybe this winter thing isn’t so bad. Maybe, just maybe, I can learn to love this season. Then, I step outside to draw a deep breath of fresh air and my lungs crystallize and the eyelashes that I bothered putting mascara on, crack and break into a million pieces; falling like black snow toward my already frozen in place feet.
My snow boots say Joan of Arc, but, my heart says pink, lawn flamingos. In between my boots and heart, I have several, small people hanging from my limbs asking why I keep looking online at the condo market in Palm Springs.
One child’s love of winter developing. 3 more to go. This may be more painful than potty training, but, with luck and lots of practice, the snow people I one day watch from the roar of the lodge lounge fire, throwing themselves down the mountain, just may be my own.
|My yard. My Flamingos. Everyone’s reminder that I’m classy and, “not from ’round these parts.”|