Monday, December 3, 2007

S'now Place Like Minnesota

NB: If you are here from Holidailies, please leave me a comment...I don't have a site tracker and love feedback.

Today's writing prompt: Tell us a story about snow.

Oh, snow.

It's December 3rd and we're experiencing our first Minnesota winter. Mind you, we're hearty Midwesterners- with the exception of the four (or so) years I spent in Texas at school, I have been into my winter coat by Veteran's Day and out of it no later than April 1 for my entire life. Safe to say I'm a four season type of gal. No stranger to snow. Lots of time outside playing in it as a kid, and shoveling it as a teenager/adult.

For our first Christmas as a married couple, my parents bought us what was (and is) quite possibly the best Christmas present one could ever give to a couple who has just bought their first home in the upper Midwest: a John Deere snowblower. Complete with an electric starter. (Trust me, it's an option you don't want to live without.)

About four weeks ago, the weather turned unseasonably cold for late fall in the Midwest. I figured out 40 degrees here ain't what 40 degrees was back in the hometown. See, we had this tiny thing called proximity to Lake Michigan, which provided not only cool breeze in the summer, but additional humidity in the winter. Sounds hokey, but winter humidity is what made winter bearable there. Here? Not so much. Closest thing we have to a major body of water is the Mississippi River, and well, an inland sea it ain't. End result: it's dry as the freakin' desert here. My hands are begging for Udder Cream and my face, which was scaly and dry back home, is about ready to crack from the dry winter wind. It used to take effort for me to get I must merely step outside and face windward for a few moments.

I am assured that four inches on the ground the first week in December is a freak occurrence in these here parts, and normally we're above freezing til at least the week before Christmas. Something like home, but not quite. It's still colder here. The Vikings up here are predicting a January thaw, followed by another Big One in late January or around Valentine's Day. That's fine by me- load me up on the sidewalk salt and keep the cocoa on simmer. I can handle winter.

I really do love snow- it's not Christmas without it, hell, it ain't winter without it. Sledding, snow angels, snowball fights, skiing. I love winter nights when the moon is high and full, and the snow is white and pristine. The sky is clear and the snow reflects the moonlight so that it's nearly bright as day. There is a certain magic that comes with winter.

Snow also reminds me of my daughter's birthday- like, the day I gave birth to her, not just the yearly anniversary thereof. She was born Christmas Eve (and perhaps I'll write her birth story for that day's entry). One of the most vivid memories I have of that day is waking up at 5AM to go to the hospital, and watching the snowflakes dance in the headlights of the boy's car as we drove. The night was clear and the moon was high, and I took comfort in looking up through the sunroof and basking in her precious light. I savored the time in the car, feeling the girl kick from the inside for the last few times. Not three hours later, we saw her face for the first time in person.

When the snow falls, I remember becoming a mother.

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