Old Man Winter has been nothing but a snow job.

People are fickle when it comes to the weather. And Mother Nature could give one whit about what we all think.

You can pray to the sun gods, shake your fist at the rain clouds and keep your fingers crossed for as many white Christmases you care to, but in the end … it’s a crap shoot.

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Okay, that’s not true. It’s actually magic.

Not true again. Yes, I know it’s science, but it is, in essence, a mysterious mishmash of all three combined.

It’s one of few phenomena that we all share at the same time—at least all the folk in your neck of the woods. And most everyone has a prediction on how much we’ll get, a story about how they got stuck, and two cents worth regarding how come this is happening.

I have raised one child and still have a couple of years left on my contract with the second. The thing they share—apart from my genetic code—is their desperate wish to be fully immersed in the season 182.5 days away from the one they are currently steeped in.

We may be splashing in a lake and taking sips from the hose, but they’re talking about how wonderful it’ll be when they can finally get their snow pants on and head to the slopes. Or as the last crimson leaves float to the ground leaving the bare-boned beauty of our forest foundations, I hear talk of jelly beans and spring break follies.

One cannot pop into a grocery store, a drug store, a shop or a showroom without being immediately transported away from the moment we’re in and hurled toward a place in the forthcoming future. I don’t want to be in next month. I don’t want to jump to next season.

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I’m not counting the days till I can shed my big coat, or ditch my fur boots, locate my trowel or pluck my first berry. It is winter. It is blustery. It is cold. And tonight …

IT WILL SNOW.

I want to kiss the screen where the meteorologist gesticulates toward the cold mass of arctic air meeting head to head with the looming expanse of precipitation. I get goose bumps when my radio program must interrupt their regular broadcast for a report from the National Weather Service. I dance a little jig when I see a red banner stream across my computer that changes from a watch to an advisory and then finally a warning.

Of course, I’m aware of the dangers—the folks who get caught, or those who must clear, and worst of all, those with no choice—but in an ideal world, a world where everyone stops and misfortune pauses, the aftereffects of a snowstorm create a silence so palpable, so resonant, so clear, it is breathtaking.

Who can help but look out their window and gaze, slack jawed, at the snow globe landscape?

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Okay, we may not all be feeling that warm fuzzy #let’s-make-hot-chocolate-and-build-a-fire-while-we-stay-in-our-pajamas moment. Some folks might be slack jawed and glaring at the snow with the #how-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-get-to-work-for-a-boss-who-allows-no-excuses-except-death panic. I get it. And I’m sorry. Bosses are awful, awful people.

All of them.

Except for the ones who aren’t.

But I live for snow days and the cancelling of school. I have repeatedly been shortchanged in the snow department this winter. And I am growing desperate. In my mind, snow days are cozy, book-filled, nap-saturated hours where you dip your mug into an overflowing pot of lush hot chocolate, ladle up rich lamb stews and wait for the magic whisky hour.

In reality, I am the one making the hot chocolate and having to clean up the bubbled over, stove scorched milk because I was busy chopping veg for the stew and didn’t catch it in time.

I am sore from walking up the one mile, thousand vertical feet driveway after parking my car at the bottom of the mountain so that come the next day we are not stranded with nothing but a 5000 lb metal-encased toboggan to ride downhill in.

I am the one making the fire, stoking the fire and feeding the fire.

In reality, a nap never happens, a book is never read and I pass on the calorie-sodden brown liquid goo so I won’t feel the guilt later on. But the whisky is a must. I shall never say no, thank you and I shall never feel the guilt. If there is snow, there will be Scotland in liquid form to follow.

It really doesn’t matter, I’ll take the day in whatever form. Busy or not, just bring on the snow.

But living here where I do, it’s not just the people who are fickle about the weather, but the weather that’s fickle about the weather. No matter how sure, how certain, how promising a forecast is foretold, there have been scores of times where I am left holding a carrot and two pieces of coal with no place to shove them. Well … I do glance back at the TV and radio frequently, but that usually offers no satisfaction.

If the earth communicated to our earthly magicians that it was a sure thing to let the audience know we would soon see something magical, then by golly, somebody better be pulling a rabbit out of a hat in short order. I need an equal dose of each beautiful season.

Spring must spit out flowers.

Summer must blister with heat.

Fall must burst into flames.

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And winter … well, at this point, I’d settle for winter to just show up and answer during roll call. Just one day this year, show up for class.

But maybe he won’t because school has been canceled. Sadly, no one knows why.

~Shelley

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

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38 thoughts on “Old Man Winter has been nothing but a snow job.

  1. Most of my life I’ve lived where there are the fours seasons. I love the beginning of each one. Except for summer, I continue to love each season to its end. There are so many things to do during each season, it’s sometime mind-boggling. I’ll make the cocoa if you’ll make the stew.

  2. Good morning Shelley,

    I absolutely love this article! Winter, up until now, has always been my favorite season of the year (you should know that), and that’s not just because it last for 75% of the year here. Let’s go back to the “up ’til now” part… you can have it, ALL of it. ALL of our snow, piles, drift cliffs, roof packs with ice dams crushing down with tremendous weight just waiting for the temps to reach just one degree above freezing which will begin the meltdown of the millennium and raise Lake Michigan 50 feet, I could swear. (#%!*@?!!*?! There, I just did, humph).

    While you dance for the day of glorious snow falls, crisp days offering the beauty of glistening icicles hanging from your trees… we can’t seem to catch a freak’n break for the dang temperature to get above zero, OR even stop snowing. Iceland’s got NOTHING on us, and I’ve lived there.

    It’s yours, I’ll higher every dump truck I can find in the upper Midwest to haul away it all to your mountain. At this point, I’d enjoy the view of brown grass and the chance to not have to drive in a continuous headwind of 30 mph, killing my gas mileage, making the inside of my truck, house and core of my body frost up like a popsicle. It was pretty the first snow fall we had… all 35 inches of it, and then, it never stopped. Now, when the local news station has it’s “weather report,” a 30 second screen shot just appears, minus the weather guy and shows the words… “What do you think?” “And now, back to sports.”

    Oh, loved your snowman part, such a visual. Here, it’s a reality. You cannot go without missing any snowman built up in the early season that is now either missing it’s head or has been run over by some local’s truck. If only the ice would crack…

    Sorry to rant… I have to go put another couple of trees in the fire. Not even Edgar A. Poe could make this winter more harsh.

    Stoshu 🙂

  3. I appreciated the carrot and coal in hand image as well. But I really feel the part about jumping into the future.

    “One cannot pop into a grocery store, a drug store, a shop or a showroom without being immediately transported away from the moment we’re in and hurled toward a place in the forthcoming future. I don’t want to be in next month.”

    I don’t want to jump to the next season either. I avert my eyes from the hanging do-dads and turn my cart and boots quickly away from the towering displays of the commercialized explosion of what is coming next. I noticed in my new town that ALL evidence of winter disappeared after X-mas, as if evergreens had gone out style at the snap of some bubble wrap. Thanks for being a hold out for living now, through whatever rain or snow or blistering heat it may be.

    • Maybe it’s one of those things that get easier (or we find more necessary) as we get older. When I a kid, I wanted nothing more than to know where I’d be in ten years. Now I’m happy if I can see myself still chugging away in ten minutes. 😛

  4. Oh the irony. I wish I could send you twenty truckloads of snow from Ohio, where the daily refrain from everyone is “Let it not snow, not snow, not snow…” We have long since run out of salt for the roads and schools have used up all their snow days. The allure of hot chocolate is wearing thin (though whiskey still works pretty well).

    • I feel your pain, seriously. It has been so cold here with the *!!?$%#! wind off the lakes that even the shipping lanes out in Lake Michigan have froze early, leaving not only the salt ships leading the way to clear the ice for the iron ore ships stranded, but the ice cutters too. It’s almost like a parking lot out there.

      Odd, non of this seems to ever get national news. Funny how two ice breakers in the South Pole get stuck yet here it’s, well, a sub line to why the Packer’s did not make the Super Bowl, or how Gordy Van Schlatckwski and his ice shanty won’t be found until some of the snow drifts melt. God, please consider us for an early spring. Perhaps before July please. Alaska is sounding promising.

      Stoshu 🙂

        • My lady,

          Your well wishes of summer’s warmth are truly appreciated; however, if you just could send Helios a humble message from us… warmth please, I beg of you.

          Today, the house is warming by the stewing of braised Elk Roast and White Bean-Kale Vegetable Stew. At least my stomach shall be happy. God bless Escoffier.

          God speed and I always enjoy your responses.

          P.s. Word to Rob, eh? What’s the temp in Sweden, 50?

          Stoshu 🙂

          • Temp here in SOUTH of Sweden (which is about the same latitude as Kodiak in Alaska!) is hovering just above freezing. But we’re by the sea, so it’s always windy, which makes it feel 15 degrees (c, not f) lower. In the north of Sweden (about same latitude as Fairbanks in Alaska!) it’s just too cold to even bear thinking about. Don’t even go there! Most of the small talk here in winter centres around two topics – “moving to a warmer climate” – Spain, Thailand, Costa Rica? Or the Eurovision Song Contest. Yawn!!! Think I’ll hibernate.

    • It’s hard being on the other side of the fence, where the snow is always whiter. I shall just face westward and gaze longingly out toward Ohio.
      And it’s funny, I’ve never seen the words chocolate and thin together in a sentence, but I certainly like the sound of well and whisky – especially if we insert the word “of” in between them. 😉

  5. I usually love winter but for us here, it’s been torture. Snow, snow and more snow with bitterly cold temperatures. I always look forward to seeing the fluffy white stuff every year, turning the landscape in a magical winter wonderland, so I know (despite my feelings at this moment, lol) that if I lived somewhere warmer, I’d miss it. 🙂

    • Isn’t it always the way? I suppose the old adage of ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ applies here, as I feel like I’m longing for something everyone else is getting to see on a weekly basis. Old Man Winter has given me the cold shoulder. *sniff*

  6. I am now mourning summer which I can feel is dwindling… don’t like the cold, though a bit cooler is nice, but it doesn’t last… it morphs into coooold. I thought my child was a quirk of nature with her propensity to wear summer clothes in winter and vice versa. I will stick to my theory that Aliens replace children when they are 13 and then return them when they are about 19, being no longer able to stand them. ;))

    • Ha! That’s it. We’ve all been handed changelings, haven’t we?
      I suppose it’s a good thing you’ve not been residing in the states for this winter. I’m guessing the folks back in your hometown have been giving you an earful.
      Enjoy the last rays of summer. It shall return. 😉

  7. I agree that a little bit of snow is beautiful, as long as I don’t have to be out in it. There are many things I love about winter: I actually enjoy the shorter days and longer nights, the lack of mosquitos, and even the colder temperatures (as long as they’re not brutally cold). Aside from some very frigid temperatures, we’ve been fortunate this winter and haven’t received a bunch of snow or ice. I like how your post encourages us to appreciate each season. I will try to keep this wise advice in mind during the summer, when the humid air is thick as soup and I can’t walk to my car without breaking into a sweat. I know a lot of people count the days until summer; I count the days until fall. I don’t wish one day away during that perfect season.

  8. It’s barely 10AM in my sunny Caribbean home, but your writing has me craving for “Scotland in liquid form”…

    Although I wouldn’t dare complain living on a tropical island where snow and cold are as common as unicorns, I do miss the seasons every now and then…There’s nothing like curling up in an oversized sweater, sitting at the fire and sipping some hot coffee (with some liquid Sean Connery thrown in of course).
    Enjoy the winter!

    • Lennard, there’s that old adage ‘the sun is over the yardarm somewhere,’ and being in rum-land, surely 10 am is close enough to 11 am (that being when sailors got their first rum ration for the day). I say go for it. 10 am or 2 am – it doesn’t matter. Switch it up and have some OJ with supper if it makes you feel less guilty, right? It’s all about balance. And a single malt in each hand is the definition of perfectly balanced. 😛

  9. Winter showed up in NYC big time. And yes, I am one of the many who curse snow. Snow means hours of shoveling, achy joints, frozen hands, and the possibility of not being able to go to work and not having the money to pay my bills. A snowstorm for me is never a quiet time of relaxation and reflection. It means pain.
    I do agree with you on the whiskey. Bring on Scotland in liquid form!
    –M

    • I truly feel for folks in your position, Manny. It’s just plain awful when it’s unrelenting. I get it. I was born and raised in Wisconsin where half our lives were spent in ice shacks searching for supper below the 6 feet of ice we perched on. Yes, there was a boatload of shoveling snow, chopping and hauling wood, and waking up in the morning, realizing no one fed the wood stove and you could now seeing your breath in your own bedroom. It could be brutal. For the first fifteen years of my life, I thought everyone had to plug their cars into an electric socket at night. Chin up, winter is on its way out … supposedly. 😉

  10. Yes! I love the idea of taking stock and enjoying the season, whatever it is. Sadly, I’m poured into my sweater stuffed winter coat and having to type this post with aligator arms almost too puffed out from the coat to reach the keyboard! 🙂

    • Holy cow, what a visual. I remember the days when my sister and I used to load up our bed with as many quilts and blankets we could find around the house, as our bedroom was the farthest away from the wood stove and come morning, if you drooled in your sleep, it was an icicle stuck to your face. Cold, cold COLD!

  11. So far where I live on the west coast, winter has been mild. Though I would love to see more snow this winter. But the crisp sunny days have been awesome, and I would love to enjoy a few more. News scare me with so many winter storms and awful weather news. Though i wouldn’t mind having a few real snowy days here but winter is slowly withering away, so I’ll wait for next year. You enjoy the snow and if possible send some this way. Take care and God bless.

    • I have a feeling that if I blew this snow westward, I’d get a bucketload of hate mail, so I shall metaphorically send some fluffiness your way. Imagine 14 inches and a giant snowman. That’s my front yard. Heavenly.
      Thanks for reading, Samina!

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