Jan. 22, 2013 — The past two days my husband, Terry, and I dedicated an hour to chop the snow in front of our house with a pick and shovel it into our pickup. The goal is to set the church van free. It became trapped in a snow bank a few days before Christmas. We have committed to hauling a truckload or two of snow a day until we have chipped and hauled all the snow to the fence line. Our estimated time for the job is one week because we have to work around other obligations.
The pile of snow at the side of the road is work for homeowners who try to widen the driveway at the warmest part of the day or create a little space in front of the house for visitors to park. Children see the mounds as a new opportunity for play. Two young boys who live one house down the street used a rather large hill for sledding until the Lassen County Road crew widened the lanes — demolishing half their run. Most children find these icy snow mounds inviting.
While winter in snow country can be challenging, I am trying to develop a balanced perspective; get back some of the anticipation and appreciation I had for snow before I moved to the mountains.
I spent most of my childhood in the foothills outside Sacramento in El Dorado County therefore we drove to the snow to play on occasion during the winter months. Our place of choice was my grandparent’s cabin located on the American River near Strawberry.
Once a miracle occurred and it snowed in Latrobe where I lived. My entire family celebrated by playing all day. (I can’t remember if the event fell on a weekend.) My uncle tied a piece of tin to the back of his pickup and we took turns riding on it while other family members watched from the bed of the truck. He drove all around the country roads. I have a photo in my study that I can see as I write this. The snow is only a few inches deep but it’s a favorite memory.
So I guess the key is to find some time to enjoy the snow. Unlike children, who can step out the door and be entertained (the neighbor boy dug a hole through the snow to find the ground below) it takes a bit more planning. I do have a pair of snowshoes and also some old cross-country skis. Currently they are in the garage, probably not the best place for inspiration. Last time I was out chipping snow people would stop to tell me they were on their way to Coppervale Ski Area — that is another option, too.
One winter I participated in an evening snowshoe hike hosted by the U.S. Forest Service by the light of a full moon. That was a lot of fun, so maybe organized events would be my best option. In that way I can put them on the calendar.
There are still a few more months of winter left to enjoy. So I hope if you have had a bad attitude about the weather you will join me in seeking out the joy of these colder months. The spring thaw will come all too soon!
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