There was a quiet snowfall. Cinematic clumps of white, drifting and swirling down to the church parking lot, where I stood, chin to the sky, mouth open. About half a dozen kids and I, giggling and licking at the winter sky.
Welcome, winter. Welcome, Christmas and warm fires, white lawns, children rolling snowmen and pots of steaming hot chocolate.
Welcome mornings that feel bright and blinding with fresh potential, a yard untouched by footprints, ice twisting over tiny branches. Welcome time slowing down and family gathering around and a year coming to it’s sweet and joyful end.
Two weeks and two storms later, let’s just say, the romantic, twirl in a parking lot and giggle at the wonder of sparkling white precipitation, has, um, faded.
Tonight, stupid snow kept Vinnie from coming home on time, kept others from getting home at all. Tonight, he was turned around twice, couldn’t make it up a simple hill between his work and our home (apparently snow tires only work if they are ON your car, not stored in your trunk.)
It’s not yet Christmas and I’m feeling the farchiness* of it all.
In protest, I curled up in my bed with Evaline. In the dark of the winter’s afternoon, we snuggled close, nose to nose, and as she tapped her small hand on my cheek and forehead, I told her a story.
It wasn’t much of an actual story, but the words, as they came, stopped her incessant wriggling and I could see her eyes drifting off into the world I was describing, into (hopefully) a dream.
Once upon a time, I began, and went on to tell about a girl named Sara and her land of tall, tall trees, with branches that reached so high, their leaves rustled among the slowly drifting clouds. Clouds shaped like ice cream cones and peppermint candies, swirled wisps and cotton candy tufts, drifting, slowly, slowly, slowly. Sara watched them as she lay on the soft mossy earth at the feet of the tall, tall trees.
Her mother worked, very, very hard. And her father ate big, big breakfasts of bacon and eggs and tomatoes and onions, cooked in a pan of bacon drippings and sopped up with thick slices of sourdough toast.
You see, there really wasn’t much story at all. It was all just words, descriptive ones, mostly, and spoken slowly, like a poem. It was all really just a game to keep her from wriggling, like dangling an object over her head, I was trying to hypnotize her to just still and let herself sleep.
It did not work. As soon as I stopped, she squirmed. She tugged at my blanket. She tapped my face, incessantly, again.
And again. And again.
I have to wonder if so much of life is like this, and if we aren’t all more than a little like a two year old who just wants things to be her way – snuggles on command, blankies that never need to be taken away to be washed, Advent candy (even on the days that aren’t yours), Netflix cartoons, always hot dogs or macaroni and cheese for supper, Christmas magic everyday and enchanted stories that never, ever end.
Once we are no longer enchanted, we become impatient and annoyed.
I want snow to be all magic and no nuisance.
I want Evie to stay two and never be too big to cuddle with me on a winter’s afternoon.
I want winter to be all beauty and no frostbite.
I want all Christmas and no Farch.
I want impossible things to be possible.
When really, by this point in my life, I ought to be well aware that it’s not the snow’s fault for just being snow – it’s mine for losing my willingness to still see the magic and beauty in it, even when it’s still a week before Christmas and there’s a long, long winter ahead.
Same goes for life. Sometimes, we have to be willing to see the beauty and magic in it, even when it’s all uphill, treacherous to traverse landscapes, slush in our boots and cold wet snow-covered dog tracks all over our floors.
I know that if I go outside and look up to the sky tonight, if I just let myself, I can be back there, in the quiet magic of it again. I can have another moment with my chin to the sky and snowflakes on my eyelashes.
It’s a choice, a hand on the doorknob.
On that note. I’m going to go hug my husband (who has finally made it home,) and maybe – maybe – consider opening the front door.
*Farchiness referring to the state of being when one lives in New England during the mushy, muddy, mucky and generally useless months of February and March, see also, Farch.