I’ve always loved snow.
I know that’s probably a little weird, coming from somebody who grew up in Florida, because I never really experienced it. However, I always loved the idea of it.
Growing up, I read stories like “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” where, yes, the winter was eternal and they didn’t really enjoy it — understandable after 100 years of snow. However, stories like that and the Harry Potter series created a mystical feeling around the season.
I’ve seen snow before, but this week’s fall was different.
In 2003, my parents sent my siblings and I to Ohio for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve to spend time with my dad’s family. I would have been 6 years old — we actually returned home the day before I turned 7. You would think that time would be ideal for snow, but it wasn’t.
Sure, there was snow on the ground and we went to a hill where they manufactured snow so we could play in it. I got dressed up in my jacket, gloves and hat to spend time out in my grandparents’ yard, trying my best to build a snowman, but even the snowballs wouldn’t stay together. There was snow the entire week we spent there, but snow never fell.
I can remember being a little older and the forecast said we would get some flurries in Orlando. I don’t think they ever came. There were times when overnight the bushes in our neighborhood would develop icicles. We would excitedly run around the area, looking for somebody who hadn’t covered their plants so we could find one to suck on.
Years later, I went to New York City in March when I was 15. Not a time I would expect snow. There was some hanging around in the gutters and parks. One day, as we were walking in the city, there was a small set of flurries. They lasted for all of five minutes.
I thought when I moved to Arkansas a little over a year ago, it would be my chance to experience snow. We did get some. Actually, a year ago this past Thursday, I woke up to snow on my car and dusting my yard. I actually knew it was coming and made sure to wake up early so I could see it before everything melted.
It was all gone by noon.
I was expecting more and made sure to go buy some gloves and an ice scraper for the next batch. It never came.
When the forecast over the weekend said we’d get snow on Monday, I did my best not to get too excited. The warnings of snow had let me down before. However, it came.
As soon as we knew it was here, I took a few minutes break from work to go outside and take a walk in the flurries, the world starting to turn white and sparkly around me.
I felt like a child again, just innocently happy and ignorant of the world around me for a few minutes as it all came down. I felt calm just standing there and taking slow motion videos of the clumps of snow surrounded me. I felt the true joy that it seems harder and harder to find as you grow older.
One of the staple pieces of TV I watched growing up was Gilmore Girls. A tradition they had in the show was to take a walk in the first snow of the season. When I moved somewhere with snow, I decided I was going to take up that tradition.
Standing there as it snowed on Monday, I went back to a story when one of the protagonists, Lorelai, in season one talked about growing up with a love of snow and how it developed.
“When I was five, I had a really bad ear infection and I had been home in bed for a week and I was very sad. So I wished really hard that something wonderful would happen to me, and I woke up the next morning and it had snowed. And I was sure that some fairy godmother had done it just for me. It was my little present ... Of course, many years later, I realized that logically, the snow was not there for me personally. But, still, when it snows, something inside me says, ‘hey, that’s your present.’ I don’t think it’ll ever change.”
Monday was my little present.