The street lamp shone down on the snow that did not gently twirl, swirl, or float gracefully down like a crystal ballerinas. Instead they literally pounded and howled– kind of like tiny snow bombs from the sky. It was the start of the first long winter that I can remember as a child.
First thought was that our house had been buried in snow. I couldn’t see anything outside my bedroom window but a white blanket packed on the glass. School was closed and time stood still for wondrous exploration. The sun had dazzled up the blizzard aftermath. First sight of everything was pure shimmer and sparkle. I had played outside many times and knew my way around blindfolded. Yet, the blizzard had quickly disguised our playground to unfamiliar territory. Little did I know it, but my play would be like never before.
The ocean of snow had created depth up to my shoulders. ( Short Greek stubby people couldn’t walk wonders in this snow) Muppet, our dog, sunk down with every step. She had to doggy paddle her way around. Being white furred wasn’t such a help either. The roses, bushes, and other familiar territorial marks were buried. The most amazing thrill was that there was a gigantic drift that had formed off the roof of our house. We had ourselves a rooftop sledding hill! With adult supervision and permission, we walked up the drift to the roof and pointed our sleds towards the street. It was the biggest zoom of our lives. (we weren’t into roller coasters and still aren’t)
School was closed day after day. Soon, we were running low on food. My dad and a neighbor decided to brave the storm and head out to the grocery on foot. The streets weren’t plowed. The wind and snow were still in their prime. The nearest D and W was a few miles away. We watched them from the front window walk down the windy white blur with a sled trailing behind hoping for a safe return.
As a child, it was one of those first experiences of a long winter. It was the first time we wondered if winter took over spring’s thunder. The thrill of sledding off the roof soon wore off and we wanted our house back to normal. The winter wonderland playground was foiling plans of baseball, basketball, kite flying, and hide and seek. The extra pounds of clothes and Vaseline smears ( mom used that trick to keep our faces warm) felt itchy, greasy, and not fun when you had to use the bathroom all of the sudden. The no school freedom had erased our memories of our friends, the smell of a fresh sharpened pencils, and taking our turn at round robin reading.
The Long Winter had put to hault all of our days of being out and about in the world learning and growing up. It came and went. The time in between time was exciting, new, memorable, mysterious, and long all in one—much like childhood.