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I went to bed with the intention of rising and going out to enjoy the snow we have been getting. I was excited to go. It was not a “ought to go” but “want to go” sort of feeling.

As soon as I woke up I made breakfast quickly and then went for my fleece clothes. Long-johns, check, Fleece pants, check. Light weight zipper front shirt, check. Jacket, check. Gloves, check. Hat, check. Dog, check. Snowshoes, check. Poles, check. Backpack with survival gear, check. Snow, WHOA! Not so check.

In the 30 minutes I had been getting ready the gray morning with little to no winds and scattered snow had turned into a full-fledged blizzard with white out conditions. I stood looking out the door and was dumbfounded. I would not have predicted a weather change like that in 100 years. I turned and looked at the dog who was looking out the door and she flounced away. Pretty bad when the dog won’t go out. It is really pretty bad when the dog who had her collar on and there was a lead in my hand won’t go out kind of won’t go out. Once promised a H-I-K-E there is nothing to be done but get out of the way she’s coming through. She skids to the car door, hops in, settles herself on the seat, side glued not to move until the car has deposited her at a trail head.

After her flounce, we waited all day for the weather to get better. It did get some better but not enough to make it safe and reasonable for a woman still recovering from the flu-cough that has been going around and a flouncing dog. Sophie slept the day opening her eyes now and again to glare at me as if I could control the weather.

I on the other hand, worked hard today. The papers that have piled up on my desk are monumental. Between letters from this and that company who are working on our house to insurance documents and forms, to automobile and dog health insurance to things from the office, they are all as one. The stacks seem to have had babies that showed up as little 4×4 yellow post-its who were crawling all over the big stacks of 8 1/2 by 11 pages looking for their mommies. Standing in their way were heavy slick home improvement magazines and a barrier that could not be surmounted successfully was created by the 5 pound book, The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling” A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Materials and Systems for Every Part of Your Home.”

I love the Visual Handbook. If it were smaller, like a tape measure, I would probably sleep with it too like I do the tape measure. However, it weighs as much as a cat and has pointed edges. I have fallen asleep in the bed reading it and when it slides out of your hands with a whump it is pretty clear why one might now want it in the bed with them.

So I will leave my whumps to the sound of falling, hinnie first, into a snow bank. Whump. Laughter, “Let’s see you get out of that one!” Whump, “Having fun down there?” Whump. “Gee, is that the way the trail goes?” Whump. “Hey! That was a pretty good three point landing. You’re not hurt are you?” Whump. Between laughter, “Are you ok?” Whump. The sound of the other fellow falling into the snowbank accompanied by your laughter.

You can get away with a lot of things in show that you could not in any other situation.  You cannot really whump the banker in the bank but if he is out playing in the snow a whump or two is not only warranted it can be good fun. The key is getting the whump of just the right depth and grace. If the banker lands gracefully and elegantly creating a photo op you got it made. If the banker falls head first, end over teakettle coming up tea kettle first better expect a higher interest rate on that loan.

Snow is a cushion. It covers things that are less than beautiful with its clean whiteness. It softens sound. It reflects light, glistening like diamonds. It makes one feel special. I think that you feel special because the snow is so gorgeous and it draws you in so completely. When you prepare to go outside when there is snow, whether for work, a party of a snow sport, you stop to think about how best to dress. When you are in the snow walking you spend time looking at your feet and at what is in front of you instead of talking on a cell phone and looking at the neighbor’s laundry.When you drive in snow you have to pay extra close attention since if you need to stop, you need to start stopping long before it seems you should start.

Snow teaches us about life. It teaches us there are times when it is OK to fall down. It teaches us that not everyone wants to enjoy tings in the same way–there are walkers, watchers, skiers and window-sill commentators . It teaches us that there appropriate times for throwing things at people (e.g. snow ball fight). Snow teaches us about limits. It teaches us that we can only stay outside for so long before we get wet and too cold to be useful.

Snow teaches us that we cannot go too fast, that we have to be thoughtful, that we must figure out a path before we undertake moving from here to there. That is a good lesson and a good habit.

dogs playing chase in snow