Snow


The highlight reel from our visit to Austin Straubel

I remember the first snow my freshman year at BYU. No coat. No hat. No gloves. But we frolicked like we had never seen the white stuff. And we probably had, once or twice. But not in actual feet. And not those big fluffy flakes that stay on my nose and my lashes.

That year I applied with BYU grounds crew for an on-call snow removal job. When I interviewed they told me they had never hired a female on-call snow remover. I was hired and I didn’t mind the early mornings in the dark or the cold (by that time I learned to wear a coat and a hat and gloves). But after just a couple of calls I either sprained or broke my ankle (I never did get a firm diagnosis–the health center couldn’t tell if it was a new or and old break – such were the ways of BYU’s health care back in the day) and I had to quit.

But I never got over my love of snow or even of shoveling it.

True story: When we first moved to Grandview Hill, we didn’t have a real driveway. It was just gravel. Snow neither sticks nor shovels well off of gravel. So I used to layer up and head out to see what neighbors needed a hand with their shoveling. On a couple of occasions I shoveled the half circle driveway of the house I live in now just as a courtesy. And because I loved to shovel snow.

There are still many things I love about snow. The soft hush of the earth covered in snow. The way it never quite gets dark when the world is covered in snow. The crunch crunch crunch of your arms and legs when you make snow angels or of your boots in fresh snow. (That sound has always reminded me of the sound your jeans make slipping intp a fine leather saddle.) The way Christmas lights reflect off the snow.

And especially the way a true white Christmas feels just right deep in my heart.

That said, as I have grown older, my body has grown weary of the cold. And I’m both grateful and relieved when one of my generous neighbors “happens” by with a snowblower or on a 4-wheeler with a snowplow attached.

And yet last year, when I had the opportunity to travel to the great lakes region to help film snow removal for some training we’d scripted, I felt that same old excitement I’d had at first snow during my freshman year. A trench-length down parka arrived from Amazon just in time. My daughter lent me her brand new neck warmer. Wool socks. Sherpa-lined boots. Ear warmers. Lined leather gloves. I was so ready for my first time in the Windy City.

Only there was no snow. It was sunny and clear and unusually warm.

So we packed up and headed north to Green Bay Wisconsin just in time for the big Groundhog’s Day storm.

I got to ride along in one of the big rigs and we knocked that snow out with precision.

And I felt like a kid again.

[Day 52 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]