Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Raining Snow

Before we arrived in York, my conception was that we'd get buckets of rain, but no snow. After all, as an undergrad about a decade ago, I studied in England for a year, and I never saw the white fluffy stuff to which growing up in Connecticut had accustomed me.

However, at the playground about a week ago, when I asked another Dad named Derek, "Heard anything about what the weather's supposed to be like this next week?" his reply kind of surprised me in that are you pulling one of my limbs? way.

Derek: Yeah, mate, it's supposed to snow.

Me: Oh, really? When?

Derek: This week.

Me: Oh, like tomorrow?

Derek: Yeah, mate, and then the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and for the entire week, as in the whole week, mate.

Me: (Stunned Silence...coming to terms with Derek's remarks as definitely not those of the limb-pulling kind)

And, indeed, Derek was right. We've had five days of snow. Not straight snow, of course, but every day, sure enough, it's raining snow here in York.

On the first day that it snowed, Jen and I and Tyler all wrapped ourselves up in layers and trekked into our little backyard. We built a single, miniature snowman. It was kind of a sad excuse for a snowman--what with his head continually falling off and smashing into a thousand tiny flakes. But we kept pushing the powder together, willing it to hold, and eventually it did.

It was Tyler's first snowman, and he loved it.

The next day, we built another snowman, incorporating the new snow into the mix, as well as the old, slightly hardened snow from the day before. The result was a vastly improved snowman, whose head was secure, and whose torso had grown considerably from the day before.

After five days of snow, we have as many snowmen peopling our backyard. Sometimes, at night, when the flakes fall soft on top of them, I wonder if the snowmen are thinking what I'm thinking, namely: How long can this keep up?

Then again, they're probably doing the snowmen-dance--ecstatic that their existence will be guaranteed for a least a little while longer.

Tyler was a little shocked to see snow at its first falling. He lifted up his eyes towards the heavens, opened his mouth, and let the flakes tickle his tongue in that way that only children can. (Don't get me wrong: I tried to catch as many flakes as I could on my tongue, too, but I somehow doubt that I looked as cute--or as innocent--doing it as Tyler did. I was, after all, kind of thirsty, so my attempts may have been tinged with a certain desperateness.)

Watching Tyler race back and forth across our yard, saying things like, Daddy, more snow! Daddy, more snow! every time he found more snow (which was often), I had to whisper a prayer of thanks. To watch a two-year old gleefully enjoy something as simple as fluffy precipitation is a real gift.

As we get older, it seems most of us trade in the sheer enjoyment of snow for the dreaded duties of the stuff: shovel it, move it, snowblow it, chip away at it, plow it, drive through it. We seldom consider using it the way children do. For kids, snow is a seemingly endless supply of building material with which they can construct people, places, and things.

Or, if we're anything like New England's most famous poet, we sit on the horses of our lives and wonder whether we should just abandon ourselves in it, get lost in its "dark and deep" woods during the cold seasons of our journeys.

The dilemma of snow for adults versus the joy of snow for kids became punctuated for me, this afternoon, when--right before putting Tyler down for his nap--I made scrambled eggs for his lunch. After the eggs, he was hungry for more, so I poured some yogurt in his little pink bowl, gave him a spoon, and let him go to town.

Glops of yogurt fell everywhere: across his Elmo shirt, into the crevices of his neck, on his ears...one glop even made it halfway into one pocket of his pants.

My instinctual response was to rush right in and start cleaning it up, or better yet, to try blocking the precipitation. But I caught myself.

Instead, I said aloud, This will be a show! (I really said this out loud.)

And then, I watched the yogurt cascade.


I doubt much of the white stuff made it into his mouth. But then again, when you're a kid, that's not always the point.

When precipitation hits our lives--whether snow, or yogurt, or confusion, or love--we really have two choices: 1) complain, lament, reasonably consider how to respond; or 2) Let the stuff get all over us, dance in it, wear it proudly on our Elmo shirts and in our pockets, and catch it on the tips of our tongues.

When it's raining snow, it seems like there's always some part of us that thinks--however briefly--why not bust out our rain dances?

Go ahead.

Do it.

After all, who's really watching besides a few other (seemingly) normal human beings?