Thursday, March 6, 2014

Winter Memories

photo credit: Yukon White Light via photopin cc
With Winter supposedly coming to an end, I thought I would expound upon the comments/statuses/posts I made during the waning weeks of this long cold Winter. And add a few other stories that came up with conversation I had with others during this time as well.

What really started the whole thing off was sharing a story of having a car spin out in front of me one morning. School had been delayed, and I was surprised by this, as there was only a couple inches of light snow on the ground. But once I started driving to work, it made more sense. The main streets were very slippery, as the driver who spun out discovered. I was able to then brag about my new F-150 handling the snow with ease!

When discussing this story with others, I recounted that during my youth (geez, I sound old) we would walk to our neighbors house to get on the bus. On stormy mornings, we would listen to the police band radio scanner, as the school bus communications could be heard as well. What we were listening for was word that at least two buses were in the ditch. Why two? Well, there was a spare bus in the fleet, and if only one went in the ditch, the routes could still be completed with the spare bus!

With the schools being closed for cold weather, I recalled having to walk 'blind' to our neighbors house. The 'blindness' was caused by my eyes watering from the cold wind, and then immediately freezing my eyelashes together. I'd stumble into the neighbors house and pull of the ice that had formed so I could open my eyes again.

After getting some great feedback on my thoughts on Winter thus far, I made a comment about how beautiful the new fallen snow was. And I admit, I really enjoy the pristine look of new snow and everything covered by it. However, this where the cabin fever for some people started to show up. My happy notes on Winter were not enjoyed by some. And so, as more snow was falling, I snapped a short video and had this to say:

Now, who doesn't think this is a really pretty picture! Big fluffy flakes falling in a winter wonderland. You need to embrace the season. Complaining about how tough this winter is is only going to make it seem longer.
So that didn't go over too well. Guess I need to work on my compassionate side.

The weather then turned really cold. Like -20F cold. So instead of commenting on the beauty of snow, I starting mentioning the things I thought were neat about really cold days. The first is sundogs. The picture at the beginning of the post is supposed to give you an idea of what they look like. Rainbows around the sun is the best way to describe them. Whenever I look outside, if the day is sunny, clear, and a sundog is visible, I know it is bitter cold out. I also think the sound snow makes when you step on it when it is really cold is interesting. It is a very distinct crunch, that you don't get at different temperatures. Yet another aspect of the cold I've always liked, is the cleansing feeling of taking a deep breath of icy air. I find the burn to be quite refreshing and invigorating. And a final nicety of cold weather and snow is the sparkling, to the point of almost being blinding. The glint of the snow crystals in the bright sun is just as enchanting as any diamond in my opinion.

A great big smile when sledding!
The kids have been wanting to go sledding quite a bit this year, which has also been a fun throwback to my younger days. And by sledding, I mean tobogganing. Not snowmobiling. Using gravity to propel yourself down a snow covered hill. I once was in a conversation about sledding, where I was thinking tobogganing, and the other person was thinking snowmobiling. Yeah, awkward.

I guess in full disclosure I should also talk about the terms 'snocat' and 'snocatting' that we would use as kids. I believe these terms stemmed from growing up 20 or so miles from the Artic Cat snowmobile factory. When referring to the snowmobile we had, we would routinely call it 'the snocat', and the act of operating the 'snocat' was 'snocatting'. This was really ironic, as we owned a Polaris snowmobile, a 1969 Charger I believe.

Digging tunnels in the snow was always an activity we attempted as kids, but seldom ever succeeded at. We had plenty of large drifts to use, as the Northwest wind was always blowing the snow into these great big piles around buildings and machinery around the farm. That snow was always so hard due to the wind packing it that we tire very quickly and gave up. This year my kids have been doing the same thing, but trying to dig into the piles the city snowplow has left along the street. They have been doing surprisingly in that hard packed snow!

So as I am writing this, there are many more memories coming back to me. Looks like I'll have to take some notes and write up another Winter memories post another day. Till next time, stay warm and take heart in the joys that Winter can provide!