I sit here in the "balmy south" region of Hilton Head Island watching the Weather Channel forecast SNOW for this area. Now – "Snow" and "Hilton Head" in the same sentence is an oxymoron. They do not belong together! I also know that most likely this forecast will not pan out and all precipitation will fall as rain. Being a coastal community, there are usually sea breezes which temper winter weather to make it warmer than even a few miles inland. However – just the thought is exciting.
I grew up in the northeast — southeastern PA, to be more specific — and remember many winter snow storms. For this child, snow was The Best. It translated into a day off (or more) from school, and lots of fun with friends building snowmen, snow forts, sledding, making snow angels, and simply enjoying the joy of walking in it. I loved the "hush" that came over all the world when it was falling. Snow changes "sound" giving the environment a peaceful atmosphere. I didn’t see the "inconvenience" of the weather, as it was my parents who had to dig out their cars, and I didn’t have pressure to get to work or shop to make sure we had enough food in the house. Yet — I did my share of shoveling – and it was made to be fun. As children, we were always sent up to my grandfather’s house to shovel him out, as he was too old to safely do those tasks. We did it as a group — had hot chocolate after it was completed making it a fun, bonding experience.
As an adult, hubby and I lived on Long Island (and we still do in the summer months), so snow was still somewhat commonplace, although less so than in PA. Again, living in a coastal area tempers cold weather in the winter (as well as tempering the heat in the summer!), so often snow would fall in New York City only to be a cold icy rain on eastern Long Island. Yet — we did have our share of blizzards, and remember playing in the snow with our son. I remember him in this blue snowsuit with happy red cheeks after coming in from playing.
Generally we had our driveway plowed out by Ray’s business, so that didn’t have to be done, but I kind of enjoyed shoveling the deck and deck stairs to get us plowed out. I would also dig my car out – - but wasn’t pressed to do it as I didn’t have to get to any job. The exercise of shoveling was invigorating, and I basically enjoyed it. Generally we didn’t get snowstorm after snowstorm and there was usually time to regroup between them, though I do remember a few winters of that.
Hubby, on the other hand was traumatized by the white stuff. His business required him to make sure he got to work – and to get the trucks rolling to deliver the propane and to take care of customer’s heating emergencies. In a snow storm, this was an especially vital job, and one couldn’t just call a "snow day" for oneself. He was so upset by it that I had to keep my happiness at seeing it to myself. At night I would turn on the outside light and quietly sit on the window seats and just watch it fall. During the day, if I wasn’t shoveling or outside enjoying it – I was watching out a window. I still have a memory of eating Christmas breakfast watching the snow fall. that was probably the only white Christmas we ever had – and I don’t think more than an inch fell… And, I will admit that Ray and I learned to ski when we were in our 20′s, then had many "school vacation" ski vacations as Scott grew up. Those skiing days are sadly over for me now that I have a "crap knee".
Fast forward to today. Hubby is retired now, and we are "snowbirds" – living on Long Island in the summer – Hilton Head Island in the winter. I haven’t even SEEN a flake of snow since February of 2005 when Hubby and I had to travel north for a month and a half for medical reasons. During that time I relished two snowstorms during the time we were there. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever see a flake of snow again and feel sad. Oh — there was about 20 minute "snow squall" back in 2001 when we were here — but it didn’t stick (although the freaked out natives let school out early!)
I feel quite alone – and very odd – loving the white stuff as I do. It’s my "inner child" which kicks in and who can’t quite understand the adult hassles. I do understand that this winter has been brutal to many parts of this country — the northeast, mid-Atlantic states, and now many southern states who are not used to it are getting some. In some instances, blizzards have come on the heels a previous blizzard. One Barely has time to clean up after one, before another comes, making clean up doubly difficult. Where does one pile the snow when it gets so high and there are no more places to put it? Besides that – when snow compacts, it’s a sheet of ice. When it melts, then refreezes, it’s even more slippery and difficult to get rid of, making driveways and walks even more treacherous. It’s February — people are getting sick of this and dreaming of spring, and I understand this – at least the adult in me does. But — here I am — feeling deprived of snow and wanting to experience it. I know – - be careful for what you ask for – - you might get it.
Being denied something makes appreciation of it more acute. When one has an over abundance of something – like snow – the beauty of it is less likely to be appreciated. One sees only the inconvenience. (And — I don’t deny that!) Conversely, in my case, I admit I take mild temperatures and flowers in winter for granted, where these things are coveted in the north. I don’t appreciate the beauty of that – at least not like someone who has been inundated with blizzards would.
However – - there is an outside possibility I’ll get to see just a tiny bit of the white stuff — even as far south as "here". I don’t want to pin my hopes on this – but it’s fun to be excited about it no matter what happens.