The first real snowfall of the year covers the grass and leaves, and provides winter light during the long, dark nights. Last night I was excited to see the tips of the stalks of grass obscured from view. The entire city illuminates from the reflective properties of the falling snow. This morning I was surprised to see eleven inches on our back porch. We went for a lovely 3-mile walk to the Helen L. McDowell Sanctuary, breaking trail the whole way! Upon our return, Maria and I spent a little over half an hour shoveling our driveway and walkways. There was about a foot of light and fluffy snow, so it wasn’t that hard. It’s still snowing as I write this, and all the clearing we did is now under another two inches.
I get really excited about the first day of snow, because I love winter! Skiing, fat-biking, ice skating and winter walks are all things I enjoy in winter. Don’t get me wrong, I also love summer. The hectic pace that ensues with all the daylight, the out-of-state visitors, and the insidious mosquitos that come along with the warmer weather make it a second best to me. Third, comes late fall when it is cold, dark, and there is usually freezing rain. Last, is early spring, when the meltdown makes everything ugly, and going outside is difficult due to half-frozen swampiness.
Winter is my favorite. There is a special quality to winter, especially in Alaska. I mentioned the light from the snow. I can easily navigate at night without a headlamp, if a blanket of snow is reflecting any bit of moon or starlight. My favorite thing about winter though, is semi-hibernating. Nobody expects you to answer your phone after 9pm, and if you say you can’t make it because the roads seem too dangerous, people completely understand. In the summer people want you to go to work for 10 hours, then expect you to climb a mountain. In the winter, if you spend 4 hours riding a chairlift, people might expect you to fall asleep while watching a movie afterwards.
Snow is great! It makes winter real! Let it snow! I will shovel the driveway again this evening, right before I climb into bed at 9:15pm.