Thursday, October 27, 2011


I was working on the dishes late last night when the snow started to fall. The radio announcer had predicted snow, but I never trust the radio announcer. These flakes took me by surprise. Outside the trees were still heavy with leaves; snow was beating all the scouring wind we get on the edge of the plains. The leaves were the downfall, providing too much surface area for the snow to settle. October snow is heavy, so much white-walled water coming down thick, with no deep freeze to fluff it up. All over town the curbs and yards and medians are choked with limbs.

The snow also beat my best intentions for cleaning out the garden. A measly fifty square feet, and all I'd managed to do was bring in the last tomatoes and unhook the hose. When it warms back up (it always warms back up at least once, right?), I'll clean out the beds and coil the soaker hose. For today I let the snow accumulate undisturbed.

So much good-packing snow is irresistible; the girls were begging for boots before they even rolled entirely out of bed this morning. By noon the five year-old got tired of waiting while I searched for the winter boxes and headed out in jeans and tennis shoes. I finally found them in the garage. See that shelf? No, no, the shelf way over there in the back. I had to pull out the ladder, climb onto the first overhanging ledge, crawl over the frame moulding, and then shimmy (literally, in full snake fashion) all the way to the back to retrieve three buckets of boots, snow pants, and heavy jackets. Four hours later my family room is littered with the soaking remains.

All morning I harbored grand illusions of a snow day spent knitting on the couch or sewing at my desk. I never quite managed to do either. But the five year-old pulled it off. She made "a hanging thing with a scrunched ball on top." Hand sewing, it turns out, is just her thing: "I never knew I was so good at this mom. I should make a sweater."

If it's still snowy tomorrow, maybe we'll both make a sweater.

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