There’s snow in the air

There’s snow in the air… and on the ground. Just a dusting, barely enough to cover anything for more than a short time, but it is there. I keep reading status updates on Facebook and Twitter where people moan and groan about the white stuff falling from the sky, but I cannot find myself sharing their sentiment.

No, I don’t like the cold all that much. Nor do I like how slippery the ground gets underfoot. But I do like how readily the kids go outdoors to play. Snow is, after all, a perfectly wonderful building material and my children are prolific builders and crafters. Winter merely lets them move their crafting and building from being a small thing done at a table to being something that can grow even bigger than they are.

Maybe it’s crazy, but winter makes me happy, at least for a little while. Or maybe it’s the fact that I find snowflakes to be fascinating crystal structures that are at once so delicate and airy, and yet so heavy and dense.

Perhaps it is the change of it all. I don’to mean the passage of time and movement of seasons and freshening up of everything around us. Rather, the fact that one day it is a gentle drift of angel feathers landing on your nose and bringing joy and wonder to your soul while the next day, it is a bitter, stinging cold leaving wet runnels trailing down your face and making you long for summer.

It has been hypothesized that the Inuit have hundreds of words for snow. Other linguists claim there are no more root words for snow than there are in English, but the Inuit language’s use of suffixes where we would use adjectives gives the illusion of hundreds of unique words when the ideas are just as readily expressed in English, though it may take a few more words to do so.

I am not a linguist and I cannot speak to that debate, but I do know there are hundreds upon hundreds of different kinds of snow that fall throughout a single winter, some of which I love. Others… not so much. But what there is that can always be counted on is a sort of infinite variety that makes every single day seem fresh and new, at least until the end of January.

Why January?

Because by the end of January, you have seen every sort of snow there is and been frozen in every sort of way there is to be frozen and, quite frankly, you are just tired of the whole messy business that is winter.

Until sometime in late February or early March, at any rate, when once again the quality of snow changes and just that suddenly, you just know Spring is on its way. Not yet, not visibly, but coming soon nonetheless, and plans begin to be made for the next stage of existence. Greenhouses get set up, seeds get planted, and we have high hopes of having garden-fresh salads again soon.

But today? Today, we have snow and I keep thinking I should go pull in the last of the late fall crop of greens and the final batch of carrots before they freeze solid and are impossible to get out of the ground.

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