As snow starts to melt, I’m already looking forward to the next winter wonder

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

One of my favorite things occurred Tuesday afternoon. Yes, it was the snow. I still look forward to snow falling, especially with the cold air currently on hand. I have my own things that I like to do when the snow is falling and I started doing them right after the first flakes appeared.
More often than not, we hear the weather forecasters tell us how there will be snow, but usually their guesses don’t pan out to much. For the last few years, the snow has fallen overnight. I prefer to see it falling in the overcast daylight and have two favorite places to watch it. One of them is in a second floor bedroom that looks out over the farm. It is fun to sit in a comfortable rocking chair, occasionally reading and spending the rest of the time watching the pasture and hay fields gradually turning white. Something about that higher vantage point adds to the magical appearance, maybe because I can see so much farther. Starting at about 2 p.m., I moved to that window and enjoyed most of the rest of the afternoon.
Then, with the temperature falling even more, I went outside to walk around for a while. Sometimes I am amazed at how it doesn’t seem so cold outside when snow is falling. Always remaining a little kid at heart, the first few hours of a new snow have been nothing short of amazing. Just being in it, with nature’s sounds and a few lights starting to come on, makes my day. I doubt that I enjoyed it more when I saw snow for the first time. Just before I came back in, I turned on the Christmas lights for the windmill. Doing that seemed appropriate.
The next morning, I went for a pre-daylight run on the soft carpet of dry snow. Traction was good, none of the slipping and sliding of a wet snow or ice mixture. I learned over the years to seek out the white spots on the road and avoid the dark ones.
Back in the winter of 1997, I got to spend 10 weeks of winter in one of the snowiest places in America. Green Bay, Wis., is the home of a company that I had just gone to work for. Real winters were something that I didn’t know much about. When I first arrived, early in January, I was greeted by a temperature of 10 below zero and a strong wind. It was such a harsh cold. The view from the plane window showed a broad frozen landscape with snow covering just about everything.
While I didn’t know how to handle the cold and snow, I found that many of the Green Bay residents don’t like snow much more than Southerners like humidity. You couldn’t get away from the snow. It was everywhere, seeming to fall constantly and pushed into huge piles in every parking lot.
The mountains of snow would remain to late April. Snow plows ran constantly, and nothing was delayed. Life just went on, with frigid temperatures and snow falling more days than not. Much of the snow fell sideways because of the strong winds.
Local residents found ways to celebrate the winter, some of which I will never understand. They can sit for hours on frozen lakes and fish through little holes in the ice. I rode past a river one Saturday morning on a sight-seeing trip and saw dozens of bundled-up anglers hunched over the ice. The lucky ones, or maybe not, had little shacks pulled over the top of their holes. On my return trip hours later, nobody seemed to have left.
Every corner has a bar, and every resident seems to have a snow blower, two more ways to celebrate the winter. Especially if your snow blower was one of the big ones! Imagine getting up every morning before daylight and running your snow blower to clear the sidewalk and the drive. Everybody did it though. I was told that you could be ticketed for not clearing the sidewalk in front of your house.
I still found that snow fun, but Rowan County snows are better. We get to celebrate them as something special. Then in just a few more days, it will be all gone. I will be waiting for the next one.

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