Monday, February 20, 2006

Record Snow Day

The record-breaking snow begins for us when the boy notices a garbage truck wearing a plow.

When the snow actually comes hard and fast, the garbage men get their revenge by burying the trash cans on every New York City street corner in lumpy piles of snow. And the snow certainly does come--the storm dropped the most snow on us since whoever does it started keeping records (about 1847, I think they said on the news), which is to say around 27 inches. At one point, it falls at 5 inches an hour, about as fast as snow can fall. I know as much as I do about this because the television is awash with this story where everyone knows the plot and few if anyone gets hurt.

We have these big windows in our living/dining room looking out on a park behind our building, and both the boy and the girl love to press their faces to the glass, waiting for something to catch their attention. (Grandpa and grandma seem to rather like just looking out, too, whenever they visit.) On Saturday morning before the storm, the possibility of snow is too abstract to be distracting, and so they content themselves with passing birds or the dogs pulling their owners along the pavers. But by the time we go up for dinner at our friends on the 14th floor that afternoon, we can't see across the Hudson river. And by the time we get home that evening, before baths and books and stories, the park below has become a fuzzy memory.

They both get up pretty early Sunday, and nobody is immune from the wonder of the footprintless snow. The Parks Department has fenced off the grass for the winter, turning the park into a luscious tray of cupcakes. The boy can't wait to get outside so that he can throw snowballs at me (so he tells me), and we pile on the layers and head out, including momma and the girl. The wind is brisk and the girl is tired, so my wife takes her in after big flakes get caught in her long eyelashes for the first time.

Some of the sidewalks have been scooped but some haven't. It's too cold to pack for throwing, and the boy instead leaps into the fresh piles, coming up with a smile and a face full of snow. Everywhere I turn I can step knee-deep into the stuff. He gets me to sit down in a tall drift to make a chair, and I'm right there in his joy. We soon go around to the front of the building and cross the street to the playground. It's inundated, but that doesn't stop us from going down all the slides and across the bridges. The concrete elephant that will spray him in May is now only a hint of trunk poking out of a cloud. Slogging up the stairs to go down the yellow slide, my son tells me, "Take a big step, daddy. You can do it, daddy."

And he's right.

When the cold insinuates its way past all our layers, we go inside. It's a struggle to get him in, despite his having mittens filling up with snow. I'm able, somehow, to convince him that it will all still be around later and that we can come back outside to make more "prints." Inside we drink hot cocoa and talk with momma and the girl about our pink cheeks and our artic adventures. He says, while gazing tiredly out the large window, "I hope that it's winter for a long time."

By the end of the week, the weather will warm and the snow will disappear rather quickly--so warm and so quickly, in fact, that even he will be dreaming instead of the possibilities of spring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I can see all ready that your boy is tough because about the time my mittens fill up with snow I am ready for the hot chocolate!

Reading your account briefly put me in the state of mind that comes knowing that there is so much snow that there is now way there will be school tomorrow. Do you remember how good that feeling is? And then the next morning, the confirmation, hearing that yes indeed there will be no classes today at USD 419.

Send me some snow pictures all right? MJD