So you know the cartoons where they're trying to show the passage of time and the trees are all fally and the leaves are pretty and then whump! the snow comes and it's winter? Well, that's pretty much what has happened here in Iowa, currently also answering to the name "Frozen Tundra." Monday, no snow. By Wednesday, almost 16 inches had fallen in the Des Moines area, and we were in the midst of the worst winter storm/blizzard in a decade. Maybe three decades. I never really figured out which they picked. Friday was the first day roads were even semi-normal, and that wasn't until the afternoon. Absolute craziness.
I hate snow. I really do. It's cold. It's wet when it melts. And still cold. It makes wind worse because it blows in your face. It's heavy and if there's enough of it it can take hours to dig out a car. Then plows come by and bury it and you have to do it again. (No bitterness here) When it's sunny out, the reflecting snow hurts your eyes and gives you a headache. When it gets packed down, it makes ice and gets slippery. Ice, which is also cold, usually comes with snow anyway. Both ice and snow make driving dangerous, and people don't know how to drive in it. Or park. Suddenly a parking lot becomes a free for all. Snow makes it hard to see the lines on the road too. People pick a lane that more often than not isn't a lane and then pretend like it's not slick. Or, once the roads are dry, they imagine there is still ice and continue to drive 45 miles per hour. Plus, snow piles up and there is no place for it to go, so the giant piles sit and turn brown and then black. It's gross. And did I mention that snow is cold???
I love snow. I really do. When it's a gentle falling, it's beautiful, like living in a snow globe. I feel bad for people who have never experienced living in a snow globe. The white blanket over the earth makes everything seem cleaner, more peaceful, even if it's only for a little while. Even when it's blowing in a blizzard or coming down in heaps, snow is beautiful. And powerful. It is awe-inspiring to know that each miniscule flake is unique. How is that possible?? It's mind-boggling. Sitting and watching it snow is one of my favorite pasttimes. I love the way the fresh snow crunches as you walk through it. Everything seems quieter right after it snows. All the rough edges have been removed, the mounds of snow make the world softer for just a little while. When I was little I would find a snow drift and just sit, listening to the silence. When it's sunny out, the sun reflects off the snow like diamonds, and most of you know how much I love things that sparkle. It's beautiful. Snow forces us to slow down from the fast-paced lives most of us lead. Families spend more time together because it's too cold to be out. I always feel a sense of accomplishment that I know how to safely navigate snow-covered roads. I love the sounds of children playing in the snow, and how they look like multi-colored marshmallows bundled into their snow gear. And it's really not that cold once you've acclimated. The cold can be refreshing, cleansing.
I could probably add to each of these lists. It's amazing that it is possible for two such different viewpoints to exist within the same person, but I would wager that many midwesterners feel the same way. I hate the snow. And I love it. I wish I could live where it never snowed. But I would miss it terribly. I doubt my two sides will ever be reconciled. So while I go argue with myself, let it snow. Or not.