Let me write about snow before it melts away with the coming of spring.
I like snow! I’m not a golfer but I spent a good part of of my childhood at the Northfield Golf Club because it had the nearest sledding hill. My friend, Amy, and I would drag our sleds or snow saucers over to the golf course hill, just east of Prairie Street in Northfield, Minnesota. Covered in boots, snowpants, parkas, mittens, and ski masks, we immediately hit the slope as if it was our job to smooth the entire hill into a cohesive, slippery mass. We carefully walked up the same part of the hill each time so as to preserve the best runs. Other children came and went, but we were the most devoted sledders, often staying till after dark.
The owners of the golf course put up with us, even when we tromped into the club house to use the restroom. I remember coming out of a stall with my ski mask on as a startled woman said, “Oh, honey, the little boy’s room is across the hall.” I must have looked more like an ice-encrusted abominable snowman than a little girl!
Even as an adult, I am always on the lookout for a good hill. When our children were little, we had a slope behind our house that we enjoyed in winter. It was nothing, though, compared to what one Minnesota family did in their backyard! They engineered their own snow slide as if it was a winter water park. I understand why people in D.C. recently defied the ban on sledding on Capitol Hill. It’s a hill and it has snow. What else is it for?
Some of us like the cold, white stuff we get for a few months of the year. Here’s Robert Frost’s appreciation of snowflakes raining on his head:
DUST OF SNOW
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given me heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Yes, the fresh, sparkly snow can shine through our shadows of glumness. When I start dwelling on the blooper reel of my life, ruing, to use Frost’s word, all my dumb mistakes, I need to reboot. Snow does that. It offers a clean slate and a shot at redemption, as Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) wrote in these stanzas of her poem, March Snow:
When winter dies, low at the sweet spring’s feet
Let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet.
Let the old life be covered by the new:
The old past life so full of sad mistakes,
Let it be wholly hidden from the view
By deeds as white and silent as snow-flakes.
Ere this earth life melts in the eternal Spring
Let the white mantle of repentance fling
Soft drapery about it, fold on fold,
Even as the new snow covers up the old.
The end of winter used to be considered the start of the new year in some cultures. Hibernation is over. New life begins! It makes sense. As for me, until the snow is all gone, I’m going to get out there and enjoy it.