It started yesterday. The lovely snowflakes that make the world look so pretty started alternating with bouts of freezing rain, leaving a hard crust on top of the snow and making driving treacherous. The news reports were full of warnings, school buses were being cancelled, and The Man We Call Dad saw two major accidents on his late-night commute home. The snow and rain continued overnight and into this morning. As the kids were getting ready for their day, outside the rain was falling in pellets that couldn’t decide if they were going to be watery or icy.
The grownups were out snow blowing their driveways and shoveling walks and venturing cautiously forth in their automobiles, and all up and down the street, you could see heads shaking and shoulders hunching up and faces worrying about the imminent commute.
But not the kids.
Not the kids.
K headed outdoors about 10 minutes before he usually does so that he could shovel the front walkway. We have a service for the driveway, but we’ve made him a deal, you see. If he can keep up with the snow and keep our walkway cleared, we will pay him what we would have paid the service to do the walkway. High motivation indeed, and so he bundled up and headed out with a shovel in hand. B, determined not to be left out despite the freezing pellets that were pelting them on the head, soon joined him.
Before you ask, no, she didn’t help him shovel. Instead, she plopped herself down in the middle of the front lawn and kept him company with a steady stream of chatter.
At some point in the proceedings, K let out his first words of complaint since being assigned to walkway duty back in October. (Of course, the fact that we haven’t had any snow to speak of until after Christmas probably has something to do with that.)
“Man, this snow is heavy!” he griped as he rested for a moment, leaning on the handle of his shovel. I don’t blame him for griping. Snow that has been rained on becomes saturated with water and quickly becomes something more akin to fluffy-looking white lead than snow.
“Really?” B asked, and she promptly stuck her hands in the snow to weigh it. And then she crowed with delight. “It’s sticky! K! It’s sticky snow! Do you know what that means??”
Tired, and just a little depressed by the length of walkway still to be cleared, K merely looked at her and waited for her to tell him. She did, of course, barely able to contain her excitement.
“It’s the most perfect fort building snow!”
With those few words, K’s back straightened up and his mouth started smiling and he found a new burst of energy. He didn’t even need B’s “Hurry up!” to start hurrying, suddenly all too keen to rush off to school and join his friends in building what must surely become the biggest, strongest, most impressive fort ever.
All around me, people were moaning and groaning and cursing the weather… but not the kids. The kids would never curse this kind of snowy mess.
Because it’s the best fort-building snow ever, don’t you know. I have it on the very best authority.