A blizzard. The second one in a week. Things are disappearing into big white piles -- cars, hedges and picnic tables. There's a wonderful silence in the streets and sparkle under the street lights that makes me think of Edward Cullen. I love it just as much as I always have - almost.
It's been a while since I've been a kid, but I can feel and smell and taste the snow of my childhood. Watching out the window, as it piled up in our yard. Going out with the neighbor kids with sleds and saucers and careening down steep, tree-lined paths at what felt like the speed of light. If we got too cold to go on, I don't remember it - but I do remember hot chocolate, corny as that is, and snowball fights and kooky snowmen and snow forts. Our neighbors had a fish pond and in the winter it was our snowball armory. We piled our weapons there and were well supplied when wars ensued. The closest I come to remembering logistics is the year that our Cleveland relatives got stuck at our house in a Thanksgiving blizzard and couldn't go home. I can see my dad and my uncle disappearing up the hill, pulling my sled, trying to get to the grocery store. And, I remember walking out to the end of the driveway to watch the snowplows lumber by, like the shadows of gigantic dragons with red and green eyes.
And then, I was the mom, fastening boots, finding lost mittens and getting my kids out into the weather. Tre reminded me, with a challenge, of just how great snow is for kids and how easy it is for them to enjoy it.
It was another generation of snowball fights, this time in a Manhattan courtyard, and late night walks along Broadway with two little boys staring in wonder at the snow. "It's so clean!" My favorite story was working one Manhattan blizzard day and getting a ride home in a police car that happened to pass us walking up 12th Ave. I came into the house and told my little one "Do you know how I got home? In a police car!" His response - "Were you lost?"
What's different now is that, for the first time in my life, there's more to it than beauty and a bit of wonder. I'm not the only one, either - Uppity Woman says it very well. Who's going to clear the walk? How do we save our hollowed-out parking place if we leave with the car? The storm windows are stuck, it's slippery outside, it's much easier to get cold, my skin is way too dry to be rescued, the lock sometimes freezes and I can't remember where I put my gloves.
The snow is still there - but between me and the silence, the glitter and the sense of life in a snow globe are realities that come with aging. I still love the walking - although this week it's more like wading -- through the snow, but those limits I never felt before -- they're right around the corner. No matter how much I revel in what I love about winter, the other side of it is rising, coming closer to parity every year. And I don't like it.
There's no answer of course, except to keep going. The past is not enough - too many winters left to travel through. Nothing to do but ignore the lost gloves, dump some salt on the sidewalk, and go find a kid who might want to share his sled.
Cynthia Samuels, Partner Cobblestone Associates, LLP Blog and Media Strategies and Content Development Online and on Television , is Managing Editor for Causes at Care2 and also blogs at Don’t Gel Too Soon