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The snow is finally tapering off just before dusk. Thanks, God, for this beautiful display that blanketed your trees, shrubs, and grass with shimmery white, and kept me mesmerized for hours. Mainly because seeing snow, especially hours of falling snow, is rare in this area.

I love snow. As it begins to fall, I rush outside and look up as it falls on my face and coats my tongue. I’m like a child again when it snows, and I can’t get enough; always afraid that if I stop watching it will disappear as quickly as it began.

Growing up in south Georgia, we never had snow. I remember one time as a child when the temperature dropped to 0°. It was a big deal it seemed. My dad kept going outside a lot after putting on several layers of clothes, saying something about pipes and hoses and vents. I was fascinated that this unusual change in temperature that had no effect whatsoever on my comfort watching television was able to send my quiet, unshakeable father into a frenzy.

I saw a few flurries on a first date with my high school boyfriend. We went to a football game and it snowed for maybe 5 minutes during halftime, and we decided that was some kind of sign that we were supposed to kiss. The next snow event I recall was an unimaginable 16” in my hometown in south Georgia! Ironically, I had moved to Atlanta by that time where, by the way, I had yet to see a single flake of snow. I had planned to visit my parents that weekend; however, they said I really shouldn’t come because they were expecting a snowstorm. Yeah, right, I thought as I laughed out loud. I reassured them all would be fine - seeing a few flurries would make the weekend that much more enjoyable. Well, I can still recall saying the words: no one spends the night on the interstate! Early the next morning, I realized that apparently this can and does happen. But, in south Georgia?? After finally arriving at my childhood home, it was an enjoyable weekend eating lots of chili and cornbread, and taking lots of photos of us holding the yardstick on various surfaces in the yard. Yep, 16 inches. We had proof.

The trip home was still a challenge, and you would think this would’ve changed my feelings about and love for snow. It did not. It was a few more years before I saw any snow in Atlanta - what I considered to be “up north” at the time.

The next really memorable snow experience happened after I was recently married and living in a new home not too far from where both of us worked. There was hubbub and a frenzy in the office hallway, similar to what my dad had displayed with the record-breaking low temperatures. Our office supervisors were recommending we all leave the office as the bad weather was moving in rapidly. I gave a fellow employee, who was also one of our neighbors, a ride home as her car was in the shop, and we wasted no time getting on the road. Maybe no time was wasted getting on the road, but a whole lot of time was wasted trying to move anywhere on said road. My husband had decided to wait until the traffic slowed down, realizing everyone leaving at the same time was probably not a great idea. One of the reasons I married him was his calm, practical, and intelligent way of looking at things. At that point, though, I found it all quite annoying. After spending hours, yes, HOURS, just trying to make it out of the office park and onto the main road, we inched closer and closer toward home. No one had cell phones, so I couldn’t call my ridiculously insightful and intelligent husband to let him know that we were, in fact, still alive. As we approached the big hill near our neighborhood, we realized no one was making it up or down that hill. Rather, all vehicles in sight were stranded and left in various positions all over the road. That’s when we decided to finish the rest of the distance on foot. Now, I had worn my cute, little peep-toe heels to work that day. My husband’s reasons for marrying me evidently didn’t include insightfulness and practicality. BUT, never fear! For some reason, every time I saw my mother she handed me a little folded plastic rain bonnet to keep in my purse. I never would’ve been caught dead wearing one, but she always insisted they might come in handy if I happened to get caught in a sudden shower.

Well, now came my opportunity to show incomparable insight and resourcefulness. I promptly unfolded two of my plastic rain bonnets and proceeded to tie them around my shoes, covering my cold, peeping toes. My neighbor’s shoes were much more sensible, though I did offer the remaining bonnets from the bottom of my purse. We trudged through the snow, mostly walking through lawns because the grass provided a lot more traction, and finally arrived at my neighbor’s home. She offered for me to at least use her restroom and put on a pair of warm socks before heading home. I let her know that as much as I appreciated her offer, my home was just a short distance down the road and I was sure my husband would be beside himself with worry if I wasn’t there when he finally arrived.

Imagine my surprise when I spotted our husbands standing in the doorway, smiling and asking if we’d like a glass of wine while we warmed up. They had a warm fire going and had finished a few snacks. “WHEN, pray tell, did you get here?” I asked in the most carefree, jovial tone I could muster. “Oh, a couple of hours ago,” he replied, obviously able to respond so calmly because of his time spent commiserating with our neighbor over their worry about their missing wives! Still smiling through a clenched jaw, I inquired as to how that could be when I left the office long before he did. This refers again to his skill for better judgment. He explained that by the time he left, the roads had cleared (well, at least cleared of moving vehicles) and he just drove his little stick-shift Plymouth Arrow right on home with no problem. And, yes, I did ask if he happened to pass two women strolling through the snow with plastic bonnets on their feet. Nothing has ever felt as wonderful as my neighbor’s son’s tube socks in front of that warm fire.

So, surely it seems that would’ve ended my love and fascination for snow right then and there. It did not.

Today, as I savored the snow falling, taking one photo after another, I thought about how everyone has a different feeling about snow, and most have a story about one of their experiences that they are happy to share. My friends and family from up north (TRUE up north) remember the many difficulties it caused, as well as how the pristine beauty disappeared after a few short days, revealing only small mountains of dirty, grayish-black slush piled up near the roads and buildings. A lot of them would just as soon never experience it again. And most of us southerners would never question their feeling that way. We would probably just shrug and consider that based on their experience, that makes sense! And those folks from up north, though they might laugh at us for getting so excited, preempting all of the regular programming, and clearing the shelves of bread and milk, probably just shrug and consider our experience is very different from theirs. It’s not necessary to have lived these varied experiences to be sympathetic with each other.

I wonder if God realized how fascinated we would be with the process of moisture changing into white flakes swirling through the air, turning formerly unnoticeable spaces into lovely, soft blankets of glistening white. I think God uses these moments to remind us to pause and appreciate the simple beauty found all around us. After a time, the snow may change and become less beautiful, picking up all of the dirt and grime around it. But a grimy pile of snow can still bring a smile to our face when someone forms it into the shape of a snowman. We’re then reminded of how the snow once was before it absorbed all of the dirt, and taken back to a time when we constructed our own snowmen for others to enjoy and admire.

Especially after all we’ve been through these last couple of years, it is an extra blessing to spend some time just talking about the snow instead of the latest virus variants or political viewpoints. Take just a moment to recall the snowfall experiences in your lifetime. Share them with another person and laugh or cry or both.

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Jan 18, 2022

I remember when you came to Colorado to take care of me after my surgery and it snowed on you as you drove from the airport in Denver! A lot! I don't think anything beats Colorado snow, though. Nice and dry and powdery and shiny! I miss it!

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