For most of the last 25 years, the first snowfall of the season was also the last. I lived in the Pacific Northwest (on the rainy side of the Cascades) and, before that, in the Washington, D.C., area. I missed enjoying four distinct seasons, and I especially missed the snow.
When I was a little kid, I lived in central Wisconsin. I built snowmen and made snow angels. I caught snowflakes on frozen black construction paper to see their delicate designs. I jumped off the roof into snowdrifts (don’t try this at home). On the walk to and from school (uphill both ways), my brother and I played King of the Mountain on the snow piled up on the side of the road. We iceskated on Grace’s Pond and tobogganed down Indian Hill.
Then I moved away from the Midwest. I ended up in places too far south or too close to the Pacific Ocean. All winter, I would check the forecast to see whether snow was the way. If it was, childlike anticipation would build up in me. I prayed for enough snow to render us all snowbound (fortunately, that didn’t take much in these snow-deprived locales). When the snow came, I was enchanted, and I made the most of it. Then the snow melted, and I wouldn’t see it again for another year. As quickly as it had come, it was gone.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, back in Wisconsin. I moved here on November 4. On November 13, we got about three inches of snow. Beautiful, enchanting snow. I took this picture of the river and hill behind my place.
I have the same childlike wonder and joy as I always have. But, this time, I know that the first snowfall of the season will not be the last.