It snowed here last week and I still can’t get used to the sight of it. Which is strange, because in earlier years, we’d have tons of it by now. But over the past ten years it seems that the white blanket that began to coat the hills and valleys has stopped, to be replaced by rain or, worse, ice. Some of the worst weather around here began as rain, only to turn into ice that brought down tree limbs and threatened to leave me in the dark.
And sure, there’d be winters with little or no snow, but those were few and far between. Most of the time, I’d be waiting for the school bus, frozen solid, jockeying for a space that would get me on the bus first so I could feel the warmth of the heater by the time I reached school.
That carried on through my New York City life, where snowstorms made life rather interesting. And sloppy. NYC looked glorious on the first day of snowfall, but then after, it’d be filthy, mushy and block the sidewalks. Add to that the mystery puddles lurking on every street corner. You never knew how deep they were and worse, you never knew what lie submerged in them. Only in the parks could you even have any sort of appreciation for nature’s way of burying the ugliness and replacing it with a clean white coating.
To escape that gloopy mess, I had a ski share in Vermont, at Killington. There was a bunch of us who piled into cars and drove six hours to get to our place for the winter. I absolutely loved it. It didn’t matter I wasn’t that great of a skier. What mattered was the beautiful Green Mountains that offered the best skiing for anybody. Afterwards, we’d bounce into some bar, usually the Wobbly Barrel, eat all those free chicken wings and toss back a couple of pints. Later, we’d make dinner, usually some form of pasta, but occasionally we’d get all fancy and make something special. The evening would play out over games and more booze, until we passed out from exhaustion. It was great fun.
There’s skiing around here, too, but it’s gotten so expensive that it’s a treat more than a regular habit. I doubt very much I’ll be going this winter, too, because COVID is so bad around here I barely muster up the courage to take a morning walk. I haven’t taken one in the past few days because the snow and the haphazard plowing made it kind of difficult to power walk when there’s a very real possibility of getting hit by a car. And that’s not how I want to begin the holidays – in traction, and not from skiing.
So I stare at my lonely skis and hope that I’ll be able to take them out for a little spin around the slopes, if even just for a morning. But the snow’s been so fickle I can’t imagine it’ll stick around much longer. Already they’re forecasting rain for Christmas, and there goes that charming ambiance that the snow offered.
But for now, I’ll bake my cookies and nut roll and wrap the few presents I’m giving. My son goes off for deployment in January and I can’t even see him before he goes. Yes, COVID. That, and he’s several states south of here. Some of those cookies are going to him. Since he’s squeezed into a rack that doesn’t offer much space, that’s pretty much all I can give. And where he’s going, there’s no snow.
My sister and I are planning a socially-distanced masked event with another pair of sisters who are among our closest friends. They’ve been isolating, but just to make sure, we’re going to sit in the four corners of my brother-in-law’s large garage that opens front and back. It’ll be dry and we can have a bit of heat and light, at least. We’ve spent our Christmas Eves together for as long as anyone can remember. Sure, it won’t be us gorging on potato chips, cheese, beef stick, cookies galore and all sorts of candy, but we’ll be there for an hour, exchanging gifts and seeing each other for the first time since March.
I don’t know what next year will bring. I don’t even know if it’ll snow. But I do know that my friends will always be there, I’ll be one year older and maybe, if I dare to dream, on my way to being published.
In the meantime, whoever reads this, may you all have a happy whatever it is that you celebrate, if you celebrate anything at all, and be kind to yourselves. We’ve all been through a lot, and we’ll see the sunshine one day soon.