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My World is a Wonderland

December 8, 2009
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I got the shoveling ache and it feels so good.

We’re right in the middle of a Rocky Mountain storm, 20 inches of snow so dry and light that I’ve been sweeping it off the stairs with a broom as if we’ve been accumulating so much white dust.

We haven’t done much in the past 24 hours except shovel, shovel, shovel. No one gets off free. Even the two year old can hold a small broom, brushing snow around and feeling important. Col, at 4, is almost helpful. He grips his shovel, swipes snow from the street and plops it into our driveway. Oops. I spin his bundled body like a giant auger, just one half turn and remind him “let’s get the snow out of the driveway.”

And then I just let Col go for it, sweeping trees and neighbors’ cars because it’s a small miracle that we’re all outside and it feels so good. For days we were this log-jam at the end of the hallway, me wriggling stiff fingers into mittens, Col forlorn over having to take his snow boots off before putting on his snowsuit, Rose stepping on wet floors in the mud room and needing new socks at the eleventh hour. Also, though I am sweating under my layers, I know the kids won’t last long at 32 F.

The chickens have not left their coop since it started snowing and goodness knows what’s going on in there. Dan tossed them some raw, deer liver from the doe our friend Claire hit with her truck two nights ago. The deer’s been hanging, tenderizing, outside on a garden arch while our cat prowls around proprietarily, as if she felled the big animal who’s made a bloody splatter-painting on the snow below her. (By the way, chickens are not vegetarians. They’re very fond of animal protein, be it grasshopper, deer liver, or the dead sparrow I once saw hanging from one hen’s mouth while the other three blocked her every move like defensive guards on the basketball court).

The hanging deer

Do you live where it snows? Do your children eat snow like it contains some mineral they’re desperately lacking? Yesterday, un-suiting after a shoveling session, I unlaced Col’s boots while he picked the remaining snow off my hat and scrabbled it into his mouth. For Rose, whose hobbies include food shopping and having snacks at the park, nibbling snow is pretty much what the whole season is about.

As I’ve mentioned before, the staple weather pattern here at 6512 feet, in the Southern Rocky Mountains, is sun; unadulterated, slabs of sunshine that keep me one step ahead of the winter blues.

But this snow is a wonderland; a glittery, shimmering carnival ride. The

Rose, adventuring through the wilderness

snow seals the town up and fills in the spaces until our backyard is the whole world, our neighborhood: the wilderness. A walk around the block becomes an epic adventure. The blackness of crows tossed across the white sky like dice is poetry in motion. The neighbors are out, getting the good shoveling ache and cheering on the kids for just being outside.

Right now Dan is grinding coffee for the second cup because it’s that kind of day, and the kids are working on more of these:

play clay ornaments

And I am simply grateful, and getting ready to shovel again.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 8:04 pm

    Here’s a tin pan of kindness: you are a damn fine writer.

  2. December 8, 2009 9:35 pm

    Ah, yes, the beautiful snow. i don’t think we have as much as you, but we have been getting a lot over the past few days. And it is sticking around due to the high of 8 degrees. We all shoveld…and had fun running around in the snow. Hope the sun will make an appearance tomorrow!

  3. December 9, 2009 2:07 am

    Oh how I miss that dry, light and fluffy Colorado snow. We have snow here, but it’s heavy, wet and often accompanied by ferocious and devastating freezing rain. And we don’t even own a snow shovel anymore!! I think one of my favorite parts tho, even here, is how everyone ventures outside to enjoy it… renewed and happy like playful children. Thanks again for letting me see the world through your all-seeing eyes!

  4. December 9, 2009 9:11 am

    What a gorgeous post!

    I love the picture of the hanging deer.

  5. December 10, 2009 5:43 pm

    We revived a beloved recipe from my childhood: snow ice cream. The fluffy, freshly fallen stuff is ideal. Just add milk (or cream) and sugar. We also added chocolate syrup to make it more decadent. Takes eating snow to a whole new level.

  6. December 30, 2009 9:00 am

    Yep, I’m up in Denver, so we occasionally get a decent amount of snow. Usually, it doesn’t stick around for too long, though.

    And I wanted to say that we have that same set of prayer flags out back. But ours are looking a bit ragged, so I think it’s time to take them down and give them a proper cremation.

    It’s good to meet you. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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