This morning I asked Autumn if she was excited for it to start snowing. She said she was, which kind of surprised me since she couldn’t wait to see it all melt last winter. Let’s face it, though, pretty much everyone in Michigan feels that way once we hit February, but it just seemed wrong for a child dislike it so much. Her complaints were on par with those of any adult who is forced to drive on slick roads through white-out conditions or who suffers through two years of rehabilitation because she slipped on a patch of ice in her driveway and blew out her knee.
Living with and loving the snow is a very important part of being a Michigan kid, and I’m afraid Autumn has had to also live with the handicap of having parents who just don’t like to go outside in the winter. Or at all, really. In the days of hunting and gathering, our ancestors were the ones who stayed indoors and favored artistry over displays of physical prowess. “The hunting party has returned! A mammoth, you say? Splendid! Let us commemorate the feast with an expansive cave painting!”
Granted, for three winters straight I only set foot outside when absolutely necessary, spikes strapped to the bottoms of my boots. I couldn’t even think of snow without imagining that horrible moment when my foot hit that patch of ice. Truth be told, it still freaks me out, but the memory of the pain isn’t as immediate as it once was and the thought of having to walk through snow and ice does not paralyze me with fear anymore.
I am 75 pounds lighter, and while my knees aren’t in the shape they were three years ago, they are most likely not far from where they would be anyway. A person can’t carry as much weight on her frame as I have and not suffer for it, knee injury or no. Add to that my advancing age and you still have someone whose faulty joints predict weather events with surprising accuracy.
Which brings me back to the snow.
Autumn and I talked about what fun we were going to have this winter and for the first time in I don’t know how long I find myself up to the task of giving Mother Nature my middle finger. I will make snowmen. I will put on thermal underwear and hop on a sled with my daughter. Hell, I might take the dog for a walk if I can find those ridiculous yellow booties of hers.
I will frolic and catch snowflakes on my tongue. I will make snow angels and watch the graceful descent of flakes as they pass through the canopy of the street light.
I will not rear-end someone this year. No need to keep that streak going.
I will respect the snow and its power to make my life miserable, but I will not let it keep me inside.
I will not hate winter this year.