It’s been a mild winter, so this year Ella and I haven’t had much of a chance to do our two most favorite winter things: Build a snowman and go sledding. The Saturday we woke up and found even a few inches of snow on the ground we made sure to suit up and get out to play. I would include Pax in that last sentence but for all of his growing up, he is still terrified of the snow.
Anyone who lives in a snowy city knows there are different kinds of snow. Some snow is dense and thick, sometimes it’s wet and icy. This latest blanketing was very dry and powdery. I figured I could outsmart the dryness by using sheer volume to form the snowman’s body. The orange sled was already by the back door and a snow drift made a pile about two feet deep all along the driveway. One by one, I hauled sledfuls in front of the house and dumped them where the pink mittens pointed. I then knelt down to sculpt the work of art, but every time I packed the pile with my hands the pillar of snow just got smaller and smaller. I had to break it to her. There would be no snowman this year. I was pretty disappointed too because I wanted to try to make a snowman who was standing on his head…
To make up for the loss of a snowman, we packed up the old orange sled, slightly twisted from being buried for a year in the garage, and drove the five minutes or so to my old hill. I can remember walking to the end of my street as a young boy, sled in tow, with my two older brothers. There were two main hills. The one on the left was steep and fast. The one on the right was slower, but had a slight bend to it that if you missed meant possibly heading off the short cliff and into the river… still a third hill was usually created in between the two by all the oldest boys in the neighborhood. This middle one was the steepest and most dangerous because it was littered with tree trunks that had to be dodged and by the end of the day there was always some type of ramp or huge speed bump at the bottom. Many bloody noses were born from this middle hill.
Knowing my daughter’s sledding capabilities from last year, we went straight to the one on the far left. No one else had been down it. I think everyone who used to know about this place has grown up and moved on. She sat down in the sled and asked me if I could sit on her lap, then caught her error and changed it to be the other way around. After a few false starts we counted, “One! Two! GO!”
We also made our traditional snow angels, and then she turned on me and tried to whack me in the face with a snowball! I managed to snap the mischievous look on her face moments before I got pelted in the back…
Several more trips down the hills and then it was time to go home to get warm. So glad we could get in at least one sledding trip this year!