Thursday, December 19, 2019



      Snows have a personality. We remember them as we remember people. Sometimes it is a fine, soft coating of vanilla, enjoyed from our picture window with a favorite beverage keeping us company. Comforting. A good friend. Some are heavy, wind-whipped and bitter. An acquaintance from whom we can't wait to move on.
Remember the excitement of being a student, desperately hoping for a snow day? On the day of a test? Which you were not prepared for? In that class you hated? So you could binge on snacks, TV, DVDs and video games? And still not study for the test? The snow from a beneficent deity.
Snowmaggedon, 2010-02-08, 19 inches here in Northern VA. The falling evergreen on the right didn't survive.
      Don't tell anyone: teachers pray for snow days more than kids do! As a teacher living in the southern part of my county, I've enjoyed days when schools were canceled due to heavy snow north of us, while my region of the county, southeast of the Piedmont in the coastal plain, only had rain. Time for my wife and I to hit the malls!
      For gardeners, snow has its beneficial side and its no-good-branch-cracking horrible side. Cold, dry snows sift through plants, land on the mulch and eventually melt gently, deeply into the soil. Mother nature shivers, but smiles. However, warmer wet, heavy snows may pile up on the leaves and branches, bending the lucky ones to the ground without damage, snapping into compost the unlucky ones. A vengeful deity, smiting all.
      Late snows and cold slow the spring flowering, burying crocuses, delaying daffodils, killing azalea buds. March snows are worse than ones in January. At the first of the year, spring is last year's photograph, and an uncertain hope. In March we've smelled that spring and want the warm, sunny days. Here. Now.
      I still look around the yard and identify damage from storms over twenty years ago. Some snows have killed parts of plants. Some have bent branches to the ground, where they took root and extended the parent plant in a process known as “layering.” In at least two cases, the parent has died and the plant lives on in that layered section. I thank that snow now, but I didn't then. Judging snows is like judging people. Some you hate, some are just irritating, some you appreciate, and some you love. Sometimes it takes years to decide.
      Looking back on life, I made the same delayed judgments about several events as I did about snow: being forced to learn things I didn't want to, getting a job that was my third choice, and breaking up with a girl friend. Yet, everything turned out fine. Thinking I can predict the future is a strange illusion. That realization has developed slowly, as snow falling gently, building up, its depth hardly noticed.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely rendered thoughts. Made me want snow so I could get some quiet thinking done!