Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Snow Thoughts

Ah, to be six years old again. I have not seen snow like this since 1970. I remember the storm called the Blizzard of ’68. The snowbanks created by the plows were three times as tall as me. Climbing them was like attacking the Matterhorn. Only, intrepid alpinist that I am, I sought the purer truer experience and eschewed the protection of ropes and pitons. I scaled the heights carving steps with my own hands and feet. To stand at the summit of those mighty mountains of compiled frost was to stand at the top of the world, breathing the rarified air of giants and of only the noblest of high soaring birds.
And so, after some 4-5 feet of snowfall over the past month, and almost 2 feet in the past week, we are approaching a proper amount of whiteage again. The snowbanks are up to the windows of my house. My 6 year old stands on the snowbank next to the road and looks down into the windows of passing SUVs. Both of the children dig tunnels and caves into their own little white mountains - thinsulate garbed dwarves carving their halls of treasure.
The snowfall out front is well up my thighs in depth. I did a favor for the oil man today and dug him a little path to my oil nozzle so he could deliver our heating fuel more easily. Striding through 2.5 feet of snow, dragging an enormous hose and nozzle is hard work. I'm sure he's used to it, but I figure everyone could use a little help now and again.
Ezra, the guy who plows my drive comes by this morning as I’m clearing off the cars. He asks me if I’ve had enough. “More to the point”, I ask him, “Have YOU had enough. When it starts snowing I mostly just hole up inside and watch it come down. You’re the one who has to work when it snows.”
I’m itching to get out skiing. It is really beautiful snow. Deep fine powder, more like western snow I think. Not having ever skied in the west, I can't speak with any authority on that subject. Not sure when I’ll be able to ski, but so far it surely is a winter made for it.
Haven’t really broken out the snowshoes for a couple years. It just feels silly trying to walk on 6 inches of snow wearing snowshoes. It’s just too much trouble. But now with over 2 feet on the ground so far, it is definitely snowshoe time. I have an older pair of shoes made with an honest to goodness ash wood frame. The webbing is neoprene, which is much superior to the old rawhide as it does not stretch when wet or require varnishing every year to maintain it’s waterproof quality. I’ve purchased new easier to use bindings so I won’t have to worry about the buckles icing up like I used to. They are heavy in comparison and much clumsier than the newfangled aluminum jobbies, but they bridge the chasm between the true old timey shoes and the new mountaineering hyper gliders.
There are few things more sublime than shuffling through the deep woods while the snow is falling thick and fast. The snow has a clean smell to it, and muffles everything except the wind and the creaking of the trees. It is a magical time. Here’s to more of that.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Ben enjoyed a truly NH winter vacation. In the week he was back he went skiing at Sunapee one day and sledding four times with friends. Now he's back in Texas enjoying 70 degree weather.