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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maybe We Should Just Catch a Snowflake on Our Tongues

I've been around for a while now. Longer than I'd really like to admit. I've seen a lot of snow storms. The snow storm that I measure all snow storms against is the blizzard of April 1973 in Iowa. That is the first really big blizzard I remember and I don't remember one bigger since. I remember a drift in front of our house that was bigger than me. We didn't have school for a week because the plows couldn't get to our neighborhood. Neighbors with snow mobiles were going from house to house to make sure everyone was ok and asking if we needed anything from the store. I found it all very exciting and fun. The one thing I remember best was "riding " the snow drift in front of the house like it my very own horse. Snowmen were built, snowballs thrown.

To children snow storms are wondrous gifts that get them out of school for a day or two. Something to play in and rejoice in. Then, as we get older and have places to be and people we are responsible to, and for, we lose the magic of the snow storm. We no longer see the beauty of the flakes falling from the sky. We don't stop to see if each flake is truly different than the last. We don't try to catch the flakes on our tongue. The tiny little snowflakes add up to one big mess that we have to shovel and drive through. It becomes dangerous and scary. We worry about the power going out. If our loved ones are home safe or out in the middle of it trying to get to a job that doesn't seem to give a crap if they get killed for the sake of selling another cell phone or package of diapers. Why is it that a child can play out in the snow all day without getting cold and we freeze while we are scraping the windows on our cars. When do we cross that line?

We are in the middle of a massive storm right now. The news says 100 million people are being affected by this storm in one way or another. Here, where I live we have had sleet all day. Except, not the normal kind of sleet, it's more like ice pellets. We have six inches of the stuff, and it is not over yet. I've never seen anything like it. When I take the dog out, the stuff is so dense I don't sink into it like snow. I thought to myself today, Hey, I'm walking on water. It was a strange thought I know, but it is a strange storm. I stood out there with Bazinga watching it come down. Well, down wasn't exactly the right word for it. It was blowing sideways, almost horizontally. Each little piece stinging my face as it smacked into it. I found myself fascinated with it. The foot prints from the last time I took Bazinga out were completely erased each time we went out. The flag at the bank next door was flying straight out and snapping in the wind. I was awed by nature's power and fury. When it got dark I watched the ice flying by the street lights by my house. I wanted to stay out longer but the cold pushed me back in.

I went to the front of the house and looked out the windows on the porch. Route 1 goes right in front of our house. It is usually a pretty busy street. Tonight it was deserted. The ice pellets thick and slippery kept people inside and off of the roads. It was peaceful and beautiful. The light from the Casey's sign across the street was distorted and fuzzy. The street lights glowing like amber moons in October.

Maybe when we have storms in our lives, what we need to do is sit back relax and find beauty in it. Let the child inside, that we suppress so often, out to play. Maybe it is the times when we have the least control, that we need to go out and catch snowflakes on our tongues.


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