Get Outside: Snowflakes welcome

It snowed, it snowed! We won't be having a crusty, dried leaf Christmas after all.

We all know that these winter holidays do not need to involve snow; it's just delightful to have it around, is it not? Perhaps even better than having a perfectly warm, precipitation-free Fourth of July.

Up until this point in December, I had been clawing my way into feeling the "spirit of the season" as they say. I am an avid celebrator of Christmas, but I get grumpy as it inevitably rumbles beyond the pure essence to requirements of late night gift wrapping, social obligations, and being amicable towards my resident "Elf on the Shelf."

Don't pin me as a ba-humbug, it's not that, it's more that I'd rather bake tray upon tray of cookies and deliver them to all the important people in my life instead of spending a second more telling a relative which lego set exactly my son wants. Do you understand the nuanced difference? I tell you, if one wants to really get to know a person, hang out with him or her during the month of winter holiday preparations. By the New Year, you will know whether to stay or go.

This past week, the skies were sympathetic to my mood. During each event I attended, snowflakes filled the air. The snow helps, it adds dramatic depth to the swarm of emotions we are all feeling right now. Maybe I totally scored on Santa's good list this year to deserve such a treat as that? Snow just makes everything a bit more enjoyable (when in correct amounts, of course).

The first snowfall I fully experienced this season occurred a few days ago when my family and I were attending the Winhall Community Arts Center's Annual Tree Lighting and Santa visit, held at the Winhall Library. The snow that day came down as though we participants were standing on a set stage. It was gorgeous.

Our backdrop was the full cold moon in all its super moon glory, while above our heads the snow sparkled and danced its way to the ground. The flakes seemed to keep time with the carols the crowd was singing. They never melted upon our music sheets, or dampened out hair, they just floated around enhancing the whole event.

We finished singing just as a distant motor roar grew louder and louder, signaling Santa and crew arriving via hot-rod. That green gem of a car never looked better than with its snowflake highlights.

Later in the week my family was again out socializing, but this time to attend a friend's annual cookie exchange party. Admittedly, I did not need snow to get me excited for this gig. Each guest brings some cookies; we share and eat our cookies, and then each guest pack trays of a variety of cookies to take home. What is not to like?

While typically an indoor event, the snow was dumping that night and my kids were in their glory eating cookies and then charging outside to play in the snow and work off the sugar rush. In my own adult way I was having a blast of a time relaxing with my friends, but I was fully aware of how epic this particular party would be in my children's memory. I can easily draw on my own childhood memory of cookies and snow play when the white drifts would blanket out all sound but my own imaginative speech.

Today is Tuesday and it has been snowing all day. My boys have off from school, and the snow blower has been going non stop. Those first few snowfalls in terms of quantity were nothing compared to the heft of today, but they were important all the same because I mean it: snow adds a depth to our days no matter the final inches count.

Mid afternoon and the snow is still going strong. This is not the weather I need be out finalizing my holiday shopping in and oh, how I celebrate that. Anyway, the final holiday rush is not yet upon us. We currently have no concerns over flights being delayed or highways to our relatives being closed. Those thoughts are at least days away. For now we can hunker down, quieted by the snow and, in an almost forced calm, deal with those presents in need of some wrapping


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