think of my lifelong sorrow

Today marks the first actual day of snow in Chicago for Winter 2011-2012.  Halfway through January.  You heard me right the first time.

I’ve been on the fence about snow for most of my life.  As a small child, I was often kept away from snow because of my severe asthma and diminutive size.  It fascinated me, but it was dangerous for me to come in contact with it.  I missed out on the only snowman my parents ever tried to build for my brother and me because of this.  So there’s that. 

Once I got a little older and stronger, snow was a fantastic adventure.  These were the days of head-to-toe protection from snow: the biggest issues were my chilly nose and the awful smell of my slowly moulding gloves.  I grew up with a massive and fantastic Siberian husky named Cherokee who would come alive with the first falling snowflakes.  I would race into the backyard as he chased after me, and flop onto the ground, sending him in a frenzy.  I can remember the first time this happened:  I fell down innocently to make a snow angel.  Cherokee leapt across me again and again, snarling playfully, nipping at my nose and cheeks and I squeaked and screamed in delight.  Then suddenly he disappeared and I sat up to see my mother shivering in her sweater and slippers.  She was worried he was attacking me — probably the most unnecessary concern she’s ever had about me.  As soon as she saw my flushed, smiling face, she knew she had no cause to worry and sent Cherokee back across the yard at me with a playful call of, ‘Get her!’

Growing up in the Midwest, winter almost always saw a good deal of snow.  I’ve been through two blizzards that I can remember (meaning literally six feet of snow), which may not be impressive to some, but did cause me to be trapped inside my house for three days a piece.  My elementary school had a large black top for a playground which needed heavy plowing every winter.  The snow from the black top would end up in awe-inspiring mountains at the back of the schoolyard, and long hours were spent building tunnels, caverns, and hideaways within.

I remember snow being much more exciting when I was a kid.  The wars were always kinder somehow.

Now that I’ve reached adulthood, I’m starting to get a little of that wonder back.  I’ve noticed my asthma returning to its former, formidable state in the past couple of years, so I can no longer spend a lot of time in the snow:  it wears me out.  It feels so odd to say that anything wears me out when I’m 23.  But I’ve spent the whole day at my desk, watching the growing storm outside our large office windows.  And there’s a huge part of me hoping that I get ambushed by snowballs on my way home from work.

you keep your things in a place meant to hide/but i know they’re there somewhere