Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy Snowy New Year!
It's snowing. Again. We've been blessed with this white stuff through the holidays. Thought I'd share some pictures to keep the season going a bit longer. Tomorrow, I, and many others I'm sure, return to work. Soon, all the trees and tinsel and decorations will be put away for another year. And the beautiful new white snow will be plowed back and turn all gray and muddy. Yuk.
So what endures? How do we get beyond all the hype and cut to the chase?
I've decided to go to my neighbor, Mr. Snow, who seems to have years of experience in dealing with the transient nature of winter.
Me: Sir, you seem quite happy to be out here, weathering the newest snowfall and extreme temperatures.
He: Oh my, yes, of course. Brisk and cold is how I like it. Had an uncle who moved to Florida. Poor guy. Bad retirement decision. We lost him the first Christmas.
Me: Well, I can understand that; after all, it is a southern state. But now, with all this talk of global warming, do you really feel safe in the Berkshires?
He: I've been following the Gore reports for years. The guy was ahead of the game long before all his prizes. It is a worry, even here in winter wonderland. If you notice, I'm now wearing a lighter scarf (100% cotton, environmentally correct) and no longer need ear muffs. Heck, I've even stopped adding anti-freeze to my morning prune juice.
Me: Do you plan to move elsewhere? The Arctic perhaps?
He: Are you kidding? Poor polar bears are having their own problems up there. And don't even mention the South Pole. Last I heard, penguins were organizing for mass migration to Iceland but are having trouble getting their entry visas. There seems to be a run of expatriate American bloggers flocking to Iceland and the current political climate and discriminatory policies against the penguins are turning into a real hot issue. No pun intended.
Me: I, myself, am a new resident of the Berkshires, having relocated here over a year ago. I have to admit, though, I was not expecting to see so many of "your kind" around and now realize that snow people will probably be my lifelong companions.
He: Do I need to call my lawyer? Be careful of what you say.
Me: Oh, sorry! It does sound a bit discriminatory; however, I grew up with happy memories of snow people in my backyard in Philadelphia. It was a great social experiment and we all got on well. That was, until the GW.
Me: Global warming. The Philly snow people had to relocate to a colder climate, just like these present-day polar bears and penguins. Such a tragedy. So many ice caves and igloos are now up for foreclosure but no one wants to live in a place with leaking roofs and plumbing problems.
He: Tell me about it.
Me: So, here's the question of the day. Old Man Winter seems so fickle. He comes and goes quickly. How do we make sense of it all? What is the essence, the substance of the winter holidays? What endures?
He: This is 'one question'? Before I answer, let me point out that Old Man Winter retired last year. We've a smart lady in charge now and I wouldn't dare call her 'old'.
Me: Excuse me? A mature woman in charge of winter?
He: You'll recognize the name; however, she plans to return to her maiden name after the divorce is final. Mrs. Claus has a lot to offer in the way of snow organization and development.
Me (checking watch): I think we've drifted a bit.
He (groaning): What's with all the puns?
Me: If you'd just answer my final question.
He: Which was?
Me: What lasts? What do people, human and snow, take away with them after the winter holidays?
He: Oh, that's easy. The memories. The love. The giggles and the pat on the head as a bright-eyed youngster stretches to put my hat on me. Yeah, you may think that snow people and humans are quite different but I kid you not. Our hearts beat as warmly as yours.
Me: I hate to end on a dark note but, when the spring comes and you have a meltdown, just how do you remember all the good things, the sensory things like touching and patting?
He: My gosh, I think I may have to create a Snow Academy for human learning and development. (He touches his head with his stick hand.) It's all in the mind. It's up here. It's very quantum theory. Love is energy. All forms of love. My body melts; my heart doesn't. I evaporate each season but always find a home again when little hands put me back together the following winter.
Me: Wow. That's ... almost profound.
He: Nah, it's just molecular deconstructive/reconstructive surgery. Much better than the kind of stuff you humans do to your bodies.
Me: How did you get so wise?
He: It's what I do. "They also serve who only stand and wait in the snow." Now I have to run; I can feel some sweat dripping from my armpits. Need an iced latte, fast.
Catch you next year!