I was Christmas shopping at Dillard's, a favorite department store back in Texas, when suddenly an excited voice was heard throughout the store over the PA system.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, as a courtesy to our customers we want to direct you and your children to the nearest exit doors. IT'S SNOWING OUTSIDE!"
Immediately, shoppers (squealing and gasping) grabbed their children's hands and ran to the doors, faces and hands pressed up against the glass, trying to catch a glimpse of the beautiful, elusive white stuff. Those that didn't react this way were already out those doors twirling around with their tongues stuck out of their mouths trying to catch a flake or two. Pure, elated joy!!! There were no camera phones out snapping pictures. (We didn't have those yet.) Everyone was so happy. I remember thinking, "Wow. What our world would be like if everyone felt like this all the time."
And I was amused and as excited as anyone else there that day. SNOW!!! Of course, it didn't stick to the ground, but we didn't care. It was falling, and that was enough.
We had our own little version of that very scene playing out at our home. We knew there was a winter storm advisory, but it had been issued for altitudes higher than ours, so we didn't expect it. It started out as sleet. Emma joked that it looked like The Sleeping Giant had taken a salt shaker and had started sprinkling the deck with salt so that he could eat it. Big giant granules of kosher salt.
"Is it snowing?", she wanted to know as it collected. "No." Oh, well. She had a little friend over for a playdate, and we three were in the middle of baking up a batch of Scottish shortbread. We left the window and got back to work.
But somewhere in between creaming the butter and sugar together and sliding the shortbread into the oven, the precipitation changed. It wasn't coming down as hard or as angry. It was lighter. Softer. I did a classic Little Rascals double take out the window and stared. Wait a minute. Is that...SNOW??? (Yes, I really did question it.) Is this snow or sleet? I've seen snow. But is this really...SNOW?! Hahaha! The Texan in me was completely perplexed!
It was snow alright. The real deal. And it was falling during the last week of September. September! Wow! And, so, next came my announcement, and we all squealed and gasped and grabbed each other and ran to the windows and pressed our faces and hands against the glass.
The girls and I went out on the porch for a closer look, our apron strings dangling from underneath our jackets. Such excitement! Emma wanted to immediately go out into it, but none of us has snow boots or jackets or gear. Soon, Baby Girl. We had to keep trying to convince her that this little bit of snow was nothing compared to what she would see and play in every single day all winter. It felt to me like a "Texas Snow". Wet and only a little of it. I'm told the snow here in the winter is dry and fluffy. They have a name for it here in Steamboat: Champange Powder. Bliss!
I was surprised to see a hummingbird fly through the snow to the feeder. She had fluffed her feathers up big and fat trying to stay warm. Poor Baby. She was the last hummingbird I have seen for this year. They have all gone south now.
We went shivering back inside and warmed up with shortbread and Carolyn's Hot Cocoa (marshmallows for the kids', whipped cream for mine).
Emma's playdate was over, and we had our "Dinner for Your First Snowy Night", a fire going in the fireplace, a game (or two or three) of Clue, and finally after being way too busy to do it, my knitting got pulled out and worked on. A beautifully peaceful and restful night together. Such a welcome change of pace after the days and nights of work and school and paint and repairs.
The next morning Emma rushed out on the deck, delighted by the inch of snow that had accumulated overnight. She took two steps onto the snow, CRUNCH...CRUNCH..., and stopped. She looked down at her feet with a quizzical expression on her face. "That's what it sounds like to walk in snow, Emma," I told her. She smiled big, her eyes wide. Her hands were freezing, but she insisted on making little snowballs with Austin, having her first taste of snow, and making a "snow angel". (She says she didn't make a real snow angel, because she didn't have snow clothes.)
We enjoyed it all morning, but it didn't take long for it to all melt, and that was okay, because every day this last week has been clear, sunny, crisp, and cool. Perfect autumn weather.
Another Friday brings another snow storm. It started last night before bed, and by the time we awaken today, seven inches of snow have fallen. It is so beautiful that when Emma sees it through her sleepy eyes this morning, it takes her breath away and she is speechless. Yes, Baby Girl, it's real. I remember then that she's never in her eight years of life seen anything like this before.
She wants to go straight outside, but last weekend's front brought with it nasty colds. All three kids have been sick all week. Aside from that, they still don't have the right clothing. These snow storms have taken us by surprise. The snow, I'm told, doesn't always come this early in the season.
Today, we stare out the windows, get some school work done, stay warm. It has been snowing all day. John and I venture outside: me to take pictures and he to shovel our first honest to goodness Colorado snow. This isn't the "Texas Snow" of last weekend. It's fluffy and dry. Everytime John throws a shovelful of it over the railing and it hits the snowy ground below with a POUF, I laugh outloud with glee. I must look a sight, me in my hooded jacket, fingerless mitts, Hello Kitty pajama pants, and bumble bee garden boots. But I don't care. It is dreamy.
The most beautiful view I see today is not the snow itself, but the autumn leaves falling onto it. This is a new sight. The trees are covered in leaves and snow. Autumn in Colorado.
I smell the smoke of wood fires in the air, and something else that I can't identify, but John and I both remember from happy memories of ski vacations. Is it snow? Does snow, like rain, have a smell?
Today, we measure our feet and order Sorel snow boots online for the lot of us. Today we order snow pants and price woolen thermal underwear. Today I tell myself that I must hurry up and knit us all hats.
Today, beef stew is in the crockpot, making the house feel even more warm and cozy. Fridays are for snow, and apparently, soup or chili or stew, with a big side of cornbread and butter, too.
I like Fridays.