“A few flakes of snow were falling, and one of them, rather larger than the rest, alighted on the edge of one of the flower boxes. This snowflake grew larger and larger, till at last it became the figure of a woman, dressed in garments of white gauze, which looked like millions of starry snow-flakes linked together. She was fair and beautiful, but made of ice — shining and glittering ice. Still she was alive and her eyes sparkled like bright stars, but there was neither peace nor rest in their glance.” – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, 1845.
I love snow. I realize I’m in the minority in this love of snow, but I’m more than okay with this misunderstood passion. I love winter, I love cold, and I love snow.
I’ve never liked summer, I don’t like the heat, and I abhor air conditioning, and am definitely not a fan of sandaled or flip-flopped feet. Unless you are Fred Flintstone, I do not want to see your feet splayed next to mine in the checkout line at Dillon’s or peeking out at me from under the table next to mine at Kanai Sushi.
I respect your love of spring or summer, and am appreciative that each of us finds our balance either when the North Pole is closest to or furthest from the sun, but if I could, I would wear boots, jeans, and turtlenecks all year round. In the words of Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta Give, “I’m just a turtleneck kinda gal.” Toss in boots and jeans, and there ya’ go. So, give me cold weather and lots of it.
The two clothing items I remember most vividly from my childhood are those slip-on red rubber boots and that faux fur bonnet. My mother saved all my summer dresses from my childhood and they are wrapped in plastic and hanging in my closet as I type, but the two items I truly wish I still owned are that hat and those boots.
Sure, I can recall hot summer days standing at the curb and deciding between a bananasicle, Bomb Pop or a cone-shaped plastic cup filled with pink sherbet and a gumball tucked at the bottom (which my brother always managed to catapult with his wooden spoon onto my Keds). I also remember swimming in our above ground pool, although my favorite time to float in the cool water was at night under the Kansas stars, a thin ray of light peeking between the curtains of the kitchen window. But, I hated to be hot. I didn’t like the feel of my hair sticking to my forehead or neck, or how my cotton socks did little to keep my sneakered feet cool (my dislike of sandals began at an early age). Summer months brought family vacations, which I loved and am grateful to my parents for finding the means each year to take us somewhere special, even if only a few miles from home, yet my vivid childhood memories are of snowmen, fuzzy coats, Christmas, and hot chocolate with a side of cinnamon toast.
Maybe in a past life I was a polar bear or Emperor penguin, quite possibly a native of Oymyakon, Russia, but whatever the case, I am completely content in the cold. And when the snow begins to fall, it’s as if the earth is whispering to me, calming me, and I feel such peace and balance. Call me crazy, but I enjoy being “stuck” inside the house for days while the north wind howls, but will begin to pace the floor and become agitated after a few days with the air conditioner blaring and the curtains drawn to keep out the 100-degree heat. Just a hint at triple digit weather by one of our local weathermen and I want to drive to the airport and purchase a one-way ticket to Fraser, Colorado where the annual mean temperature is 32.5 degrees.
Yes, I’ve done the research. Where are the coldest places to live or the states with the longest winters? Just ask me. While Fraser can see low temps dipping to 29 degrees in June (Ahhhh…), International Falls, Minnesota, the trademarked “Icebox of the Nation,” sees annual snowfalls of 65.5 inches and 60 nights a year at the 0 degree mark (boot and turtleneck city, baby).
But, while I would love to live in a city or town with a lengthier winter season, I know I will just have to make do with our random Kansas snowfalls, the inconsistent days of cold temperatures, the sometimes seventy degrees in December or February, and long, hot droughts of summer. We all have to make sacrifices and this Snow Queen will just have to rejoice and take full advantage of those days when the sky becomes heavy with grey and the air suddenly fills with fat, hold-in-your-palm snowflakes. As Old Man Winter rattles the screens on the windows, daring me to come out and play, I’ll don my boots and faux fur-lined hat and high-step through drifts to fill bird feeders or to simply dance in the wonderland beneath the trees, their snow-laden branches outstretched like angels wings beckoning the winter heavens. On those beautifully white days, I will take a moment to breath in the crystalline air and do my best to imprint each snowflake upon my memory to help me through the long, dry, warm and snowless days in between.