I’m aware that living in South Florida, has its perks. Our kids can play outdoors all year round. Our spring/summer wardrobe can be extensive and therefore chicer than most people’s spring/summer wardrobes, and one could do an outdoor hot yoga class 2/3rds of the year ….
Plus, I love being able to mention the weather to my Northern friends for the sole purpose of making them jealous. However, there’s one time of year when I’m truly bitter that I live in a season-less paradise of outdoor fun, and that’s wintertime. I haven’t seen snow on Christmas for well, about a decade.
Growing up in the North, there was nothing like the joy of waking up to a layer of snow. I recall running to the frosted windows in the back of my house to see one of my favorite sites, a fresh white blanket perfectly tucking in the houses and the fences and the play-sets in my neighborhood. It would always shimmer in the morning like it was enhanced or photoshopped. Next, I would run to the windows that overlooked the street and try to determine how much school we could miss, It could be an hour, 2 hours … a whole day, anything was possible on a snowy day, but it would be way better without school involved, as you knew it’d be brown and slushy by the time you got home.
I recall the sound of snow. There are many sounds of snow, the sound of your boots crunching into the top layer of iced snow, like an amplified spoon cutting into a creme brulee. The smush of walking though soft snow on your way up hill (yes, unlike Florida, they have hills up north), the sound of your saucer or sled being cleanly pulled over the top layer of dusting, and of course the sound of the wind rushing by as you whrrr down hill. The shuffling sound of making a snow angel … the solid crunch of patting together a snowball and the muted pop of said ball splattering on your friends padded puffer jacket.
Of course, who can forget the feel of snow? I try to explain it to my kids, who’ve never experienced actual snow, but it’s hard to explain. It’s not like a snow cone or even the fake stuff they put out on “snow day” once a year. It’s softer and harder at the same time. So, YOU try getting that across. I recall how it was never as cold as you would expect it to be, yet there was nothing worse than a chunk getting between your pants and your shoes or your gloves and your jacket. Snow to the ankles and wrists could send you through the roof. I remember the way it would stick to your knitted gloves but slide off your Freezy Freakies (please tell me you had Freezy Freakies?) Mine were cheerleaders that one minute had pompoms and didn’t the next.
Oh and the taste, yes snow has a taste. I know you’re thinking sure, if it’s yellow, but the best snow to taste, is the kind you catch on your tongue. It tastes like winter. It tastes like childhood, Fine it tastes mostly like ice, but more fun. Like fun ice. Don’t try to sell that idea, I’m already getting a patent.
And lastly, I recall the smell of snow. I know, you would think it has no smell, but you’re wrong. There’s a smell of cold crisp air … something piney and clean, something distinct, but unexplainable. Like the way camp smells in the morning over the summer. Non specific, not like fresh cut grass or honeysuckle, just dewy and leafy and campy. If you’ve smelled either, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I guess I’m just saying that it’s great living here, and sure, the twinkle lights wrapped around the palm trees is, um, coolish. And seeing the money each development spends to outdo the next development with lit up ribbons and outlined letters, is a great lesson in suburban one upmanship, but it’s just not the same as a snowy pine tree on a hill. Oh, and the vision of a dog laid out on the rug in the window of a cozy home … that just happens to be yours … where your mom awaits with a cup of cocoa complete with mini marshmallows … and A Charlie Brown Christmas playing on the television … Did I go too far? Too nostalgic? Too much like a nestles commercial? Fine, I’m going out back for a swim, that always helps me clear my head.