Blog Post No. 521
It’s not officially winter, but it sure feels like it in my area. I know some places have already had some pretty heavy snowfall, but we just got our first light dusting last week. I was in the kitchen making something to eat and listening to music before heading off to the day job, occasionally looking out the window to watch the falling flurries and I had a strong sense of déjà vu. I thought back on a fond memory about the snow which led to others. Sometimes the snow and cold are a nuisance, but they don’t always have to be.
The first memory that hit me like a snowball to the back of the head (the kind that gets in your collar and soaks your neck) was of driving to a university exam in a down pouring of heavy, wet snow. My wipers left huge piles clinging to the edges of my windscreen and the traffic was moving very slowly. Since I wasn’t in a hurry (because I left early and I always dreaded exams) I wasn’t too stressed. I took my time and got to listen to an entire album on my drive. (The Frames, For the Birds). When I was sitting in the exam, I kept playing the songs over and over in my head, and the album became kind of a theme for all my exams over the next few years. I’d listen to it on the drive and try to stay in that same, calm, slow, winter driving mood before sitting in a huge gymnasium full of hundreds of students.
Years earlier, I avoided studying for high school exams by shoving my parent’s driveway over and over during a late evening snowfall. I had told myself that I would go shovel the driveway, then get to work. (It’s a method I still use and still doesn’t usually work with writing and editing). It was snowing hard enough that by the time I was done, there was another layer of snow on the driveway. So, I just kept going around and around for what I remember being a good couple hours. Eventually I stopped and knowing me in high school, I probably didn’t end up studying much.
On that same driveway, when I was younger, I built a snow cave around a small tree. There was a lot of snow that year and it would pile up around a small Japanese maple my parents had where the driveway and walkway met. Most of the tree had been covered from weeks of shoveling the driveway, and I got it into my head to make a sort of igloo out of the mound of snow. I dug it out, piling more snow on top, and eventually made enough space for two kids to lay around the thin trunk that ran up the middle. I wanted to do it again for several years after, but between less snow and growing up, I never did.
My childhood home was near a pond. In the winter, the neighbourhood kids would trudge out to the frozen pond early in the morning. We would shovel off a big patch and play hockey. As the day went on, parents would show up with their kids and we’d have to give up more and more of the space we shoveled (even when there was often much more pond available) until they all left and we could reclaim the full rink. We would play until our toes were numb and our face hurt. Sometimes we’d have to shovel every fifteen minutes or so to keep the rink clear enough to play. The walk back to our houses was long and cold, but we would be back out there the next morning. I’m sure my parents wondered how I could get up early on a day off but couldn’t manage it when I had to get to school.
Too often, I have a negative attitude towards things. I have to remind myself to see the positive even when it’s staring me in the face. It felt nice to be reminded of some nice memories, especially when I was getting ready for work. Hopefully these snowy winter stories have triggered some of your own fond memories. It’s easy to complain about the cold and the snow, but there can be some good things about it. It’s all about our perspective.