THE COLORS OF SNOW
It is hard to be properly cynical, and to muster a Monday morning sneer, when every twig of every tree is heaped with fluffy snow and the dawn is breathless. The best I could do was muster a wry disbelief, which I was thinking of twisting into the sort of scorn a tough guy displays towards frilly fashion, however when the children started arriving at the farm, and they all wore the dazed smiles of people who have awoken in heaven, I was totally outnumbered. I got mugged by beauty, and couldn’t help but be happy and smile.
We got about ten inches in all, all without much wind. A weak storm went out to sea, without turning into the typical Atlantic gale, and it was trailed by a weak front, or actually a sort of appendage of low pressure, dangling back to the storm’s west over New Hampshire. The weather geeks spoke knowingly of a “second vort-max,” but only after it happened. The truth was that the forecast was for four to six inches, and there was only an “advisory” (less than six inches) rather than a “warning” (more than six inches,) and the knowing got fooled, as the sky had a sense of humor.
At six on Sunday morning there was only light snow and around a half inch on the ground, so there seemed to be no need to cancel church. By eight there was nearly six inches of heavy, wet snow, with flakes plunging swiftly at times, as if flakes were about to turn to raindrops, and then it again became light, mixing with a very light mist. It was so mild and windless cleaning up was no bother, and, with the weather radar showing the very edge of the snow over us, and moving away, it seemed the snow was over.
However then the “second vort-max,” (whatever the heck that is,) did its thing. The edge of the snow kept reforming to our southwest, even as it seemed to move away to our northeast, and the world again suddenly looked like someone had given a snow globe a shake. The sky was so bright that the unseen sun could still melt the snow, and the six inches of fluff settled to three, but then a couple more would fall. Again it would look like it was stopping and then the snow globe would be given another shake. When I say we got ten inches it is only a generalization, as the fresh snow kept being compacted, and then receiving a fresh topping.
I used the snow as an excuse to avoid the work of cleaning up at the Childcare for as long as I could. Why snow-blow the drive when it will just snow again? However as evening came on I could procrastinate no longer, and did the job. Loose cobbles on the drive promptly broke sheer-pins on two of the six blades, and I’d used up my stock of pins and had to invent replacements with six-penny nails. The snow didn’t blow, but came out of the blower’s chute like a stream of white soup, and would occasionally pack in the works and need to be dug out with a stick, but by twilight the job was done. As the roar of the engine ceased it was totally quiet, so quiet you could hear the sound of the fat flakes falling, as the snow globe got another shake. By the time I arrived at work on Monday morning there were two more inches of fluff.
So I had my reasons to look crabby, with more work to do and my nice plans messed up by the snow. I had it all settled that the kids would trot behind me and learn about hanging sap buckets on maples, as I pontificated knowingly about how Indians called this time “The Sap Moon,” and how fluffy snow was called “Sugar Snow.” Now it was going to be difficult for the small ones to even walk away from the walkways, and I had to come up with a Plan B.
To the east was a purple wall of cloud, like an extra range of hills, gilded with the pink of sunrise. All around me the snow was pink, against a sky of pure blue to the west. Then the sun peeked over the clouds, pure gold, and all the snow abruptly was a light orange, paling swiftly to the color of butter. I kept waiting for snow to behave itself, and be white like snow is suppose to be, but it never did. It borrowed the blue of the sky, or the faintest tint of green where shaded by pines, and only came close to being white when puffy white clouds began to spring up under the warm sun, but those clouds had purple bottoms, and I then noted a faint reflection of that purple on the snow.
I didn’t have the slightest problem with the kids. They all arrived well dressed, and all seemed enchanted by the snow, with dreamy smiles. The most innocent pleasures satisfied them. Rather than making a straight path across the pasture I tramped a curvy one, and they laughed, running around the curves. Then we stood beneath a great pine as the touch of the sun started the snow falling from boughs in the stillness, pretending the pine was bombing us, and they thought that was great fun. The snow was perfect for rolling snowballs, and soon the hill held an army of snowmen, plus a huge rabbit we decided would terrify coyotes, if they dared creep near. Then we rolled a single snowball down the hill until it was enormous and too huge to budge, and the children rolled a smaller ball next to it so they could climb the giant one and play King Of The Mountain. This did cause some quarreling, but tears were strangely absent. Even when a tremendous snowball fight broke out, (which is against the rules,) there wasn’t a tear, which may be a first.
I didn’t even get grumpy when a member of my staff came up with a plan that made extra work for me. That definitely is a first. We are supposed to discuss all plans ahead of time, but perhaps I was in no position to criticize, with my own plan A in ruins.
The plan involved building volcanoes of snow, with a Dixie cup of baking soda on top, into which was poured vinegar stained with food coloring. The chemical reaction made the volcanoes “erupt,” staining the snow. There were a few jokes with parents, when they noticed some of the snow was “yellow snow,” but the children thought the snow being some color besides white was wonderful.
It just goes to show you: Snow doesn’t always have to be white, and Mondays don’t always have to be grumpy.
Now it is a Tuesday morning, and the radio announces there is another winter storm warning, for snow starting this evening. Yesterday’s fluffy snow is all packed down and refrozen, and I have to head out early to spread sand on the drive. (I also have to work on proving that Tuesdays don’t always have to be grumpy.)