A Snowy Day

shovel1Realized today as I was clearing the driveway of snow for what seems like the dozenth time that I have lived in the midwest for more than half my life. Way more. Excepting a six-year sojourn in New York and a delicious junior year abroad, I have lived in the country’s midsection since 1974. And it was snow that first tempted me. Yeah, snow. The white stuff falling relentlessly this year, the drifts multiplying faster than the water-schlepping brooms in Fantasia.

I went to Kenyon College, drawn in part to the promise of living in snowy Ohio. I was a kid from snow-challenged Georgia, mind you. The only snowfall of my childhood I spent hours scraping every flake I could into a little mound that was meant to be a snowman. It never even reached snowboy status. Kenyon didn’t disappoint. The snow of ’78 (my senior year) forced three days of cancelled classes. I loved every thigh-high-in-snow minute of it.

And then six years after graduation, a move to Michigan. And snow. Which quickly lost its charm. Oh, it was fun sledding with the kids and building snowmen. Coulda made a whole football team with plenty left over for the coach. We live near a lake and even went ice skating a time or two.

But the snow quickly became a bother and a hindrance. I don’t like driving in it. And there is so much to put on. And to lose. Gloves, hats, scarves, mittens, thermal longjohns. And boots. Let’s not forget the boots that make me feel like Lurch, the Addams family’s butler.

But the boots do keep my feet toasty while I’m shoveling. And after a snow like we had this weekend there is the powdery hush that stills the world and turns our block into the dreams of my childhood — crisp, white, iced overnight with magic. Snowflakes are miraculous bits of Divine engineering, every spoke fringed or feathered by Nature’s Arctic hand. There’s a certain satisfaction to shoveling a driveway neat and pristine and then coming in for a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate.

I love the way even the smallest branches are frosted to their tips. As I write, a pair of cardinals flits through the tree beyond the window; the mister’s feathers are barber-pole crimson against the snow-laden tree limbs. The snow scatters beneath them as they take wing, chilled and exhilarated perhaps, or maybe just cold and hungry and yearning for spring.

As much as I sometimes say I want to get the heck out of this State and leave behind the snow plow, the shovels and the back-up gallon of blue windshield de-icer, I would miss a morning like today’s. I would miss the crystalline air and the utter softness of this transformed rain. And I would miss the opportunity to bundle up and go out in the front yard and fulfill once again a childhood dream.


Over the weekend we had another six inches of snow. Or maybe it was six feet. At least that’s what my back and shoulders are telling me. Total winter snowfall is now forty inches. Twice the usual.

The gutters are fanged with iciclesice-fangs I tell guests to come to the side door lest they run the risk of getting impaled by one of Nature’s phenomena — an icicle is what you get when water melts and freezes at the same time. Forget about childhood dreams and a snowfall’s powdery hush. I’m tired of shaking Nature’s Arctic hand. Did you know Currier & Ives retired to Sarasota? Yep. Sarasota. Here’s what Frosty has to say about it. I’m with him.


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8 thoughts on “A Snowy Day

  1. Denny Greenberg

    Hi Debra,
    I loved seeing the picture of you and your snowman. There is nothing like a Michigan snow (as long as you don’t have to drive in it).
    I think that you folks in Michigan have had enough of winter and I wish you an early spring.

  2. Cindy La

    What adorable photos of you! I wish I loved snow as much as you seem to … it IS lovely to look out my office window and see the trees on the boulevard tipped with snow. But still … the driving in it is awful and scary.

  3. Iris Lee Underwood

    For a southern gal, you’ve adapted well to that snowman gear. Just wish I was there to help you build that funny little guy with the twiggy arms.

  4. Betsy

    I love the snow, too. especially romping with my dog, who sticks her black furry face right into it, then looks at me as if to say “was that allowed?” and I laugh. Being with my dog in the snow reminds me of playfulness and freedom, since my grown kids have rejected the idea of being outside in the winter, except to enter and leave their cars. the trick is dressing right.
    As my friend says, “there is no bad weather, just inadequate clothing”
    – Betsy

  5. Only the Half of It

    I think I would really miss the seasons if I ever moved south. Your story reminds me of Mitch Albom’s story in Sports Illustrated and also in the Freep this past weekend where he praises Michigan in a different way. But still. I have found I hate the cold less if I wear appropriate clothing. Go figure! I mean, I used to dress more for fashion and FREEZE! Now it’s good boots, layers, and hoods!

  6. Hope Clark


    What a wonderful, lighthearted blog – had me reading to the end, which is not common in my 10-hour/day online life. Just wish you had your blog arranged to deliver via email, because I forget to visit blogs. Just a thought.

    As a girl born in MIssissippi and raised in South Carolina, I crave snow, much like you did. I visited my sister-in-law last year in Iowa – with her 15 inches of snow. Loved it. Hated driving in it, but the magic of snow is unmatched in any other aspect of nature. Thanks for the visit.

    Hope Clark

  7. Debra

    Hi Hope,

    Glad you enjoyed. Maybe rainbows can match snow in awe but not in interactive play. And you can subscribe! Just head over one column to the right.
    Underneath all the “tags” is a blue sentence —
    “subscribe to Debra’s blog” and beneath is a “click here” hyperlink.

    Y’all come back now, hyeah??

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