The Snow is Sharp

I woke up hopeful this morning.

Yesterday, the weather had behaved a little better than it has been in recent weeks.  In wasn’t snowing, the ice was starting to melt, and I didn’t have to cover every inch of exposed skin under some type of knitted something.

I woke up thinking, “Maybe today will be like yesterday.  Maybe it’ll even be a little warmer than yesterday.”

After I checked the weather app on my phone, which informed me it was about 32 degrees outside, I realized that the weather wasn’t really better than it was yesterday’s, but it wasn’t going to be the epic, bitter wintery mix that chipped away at my outer epidermis and sanity all through January.  And so, it was with a slightly lighter spirit and more optimistic outlook that I wiggled into my long-johns and extra undershirt this morning.  And as I made my way across campus for my first class of the day, tip-toeing around big, slushy puddles, I thought that maybe, just maybe, today would be one of my last multi-layer-days of the year.  Maybe, I thought, some day next week I can just wear pants without the extra layers of under amour beneath them.

But then, this happened:

Seriously, weather?
Seriously, weather?

I watched this happen out a window.  It was pretty painful.

At first, it was a slow, gentle snowfall.  This was disappointing, thought not devastating.  I was okay with a little snow falling so long as it didn’t stick.

But then the snow got heavier, and heavier, and even heavier.  The flakes grew larger and greater in numbers.  In less than 30 minutes, what started out as a gentle sprinkling of snow had turned into an all-out blizzard.

I swear I heard my long underwear cackling underneath my jeans.

I walked outside after class, already feeling sad and defeated, only to find that not only was the snow cold, wet, and stupid like snow always is, it was sharp.

I’m going to say that again:
The snow
was sharp.

It wasn’t hail, freezing rain, or some other type of precipitation that we know to be a bit more stab-y than snow, it was actually sharp snow.

I can only assume that this arrived because I dared to hope that we’re nearing the end of winter in (what I thought was) the safe space of my mind, and Mother Nature felt compelled to teach me a lesson.

I can’t believe I thought about wearing rain boots today.

Winter Rant

I remember cold blizzard nights spent with pajamas worn inside out and spoons carefully placed under my pillow. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve clearly never had a snow day. This was more than just a superstition. It was a way of life. And it worked every time. If for some wild reason I woke up in the morning to discover that school was still open, the reason was clear: it wasn’t the ritual at fault, some dumb kid obviously forgot to put a spoon under his pillow.

Snow days used to be the best part of winter. I loved waking up at dawn and watching the snowflakes fall, each building onto the tidal wave of white pushing up against the outer-walls of my house. My mom would bundle me in layers of clothing, yank the sliding door open and set me free to spend the day exploring the new world that used to be my backyard. I used to build forts, pack snowballs, and dig sled routes for hours. When my toes began to go numb, I would retire to the fireplace to let my body thaw, a cup of hot chocolate waiting for me. Life was easy, and snow was my friend. I wish I could say the same today.

Flash forward ten years: I’ve moved to Michigan, where snow looks more like swamps of grey slush, and the wind hurls hail into my face as I walk to class. Upon hearing my morning alarm, I don’t rush to the window in hopes that an overnight storm has painted my yard white. Rather, I moan at the sight of frozen mush on the sidewalks and streets. This may sound like a testament to my changed character. It may sound like I’m just no longer the vivacious kid I used to be. Yet, I still recognize snow for its beauty- just not when I’m hopscotching around piles of slush and patches of black ice. One day I’ll fully rekindle my relationship with snow. After all, it’s nearly impossible to resist a good snowball fight. But for now, you won’t be finding any spoons under my pillow.