Snow is my absolute favorite thing about winter. I know that probably just earned me more than a few eye rolls and probably some good amount of grumbling. However, there is something magical about snow, and winter makes me feel like a kid again. I know, I know, there also is the issue of shoveling, hoping not to get stuck in my driveway, and doing my best not to slip and fall, but snow, especially the types of snowstorms we are currently having, have an element of magic to them.

I think part of my fascination and love of snow stems from my childhood. See, as grain farmers, spring, summer and even fall always found everyone, especially my grandfather, super busy. This meant that as kids we were busy too. From sun up until sun down there was always something to do, somewhere to be or something to fix. However, when winter came, and I’m talking the frozen cold, bitterly windy, ankle-deep snow type of winter, work ground to a halt, and time for fun emerged, at least for us. Looking back, I’m not sure my grandfather would have said the same when they were milking cows full time. Milking, and taking care of animals in general, never stops. But in his semi-retired phase, I think he may have truly loved winter. From building huge snowmen and giant snow caves to games of fox and goose in the yard, snowy winter days always meant fun.

I’m pretty sure I drove my grandmother nuts. I’m one of those adults who is rarely cold. Even today you’re likely to find me with a light jacket on, no hat, thin gloves and boots wandering around outside. With the recent sub-zero weather, I’ve actually had to invest in a heavier coat and a pair of wind-resistant gloves. Hats or hoods are still completely optional and I’m not sure I even own a scarf. As an adult, this is fine; I’m now allowed to make those decisions. However, as a kid getting ready to go play for hours in the snow, I would be bundled up from head to toe like a little pink sausage, even though I protested long and loudly that I wasn’t cold.

After the arduous bundling process, I would waddle down the steps and into the white winter wonderful I was desperate to explore. I remember when the snow was really deep, grandpa would walk in front of me and I would try to follow in his footsteps, practically leaping from bootprint to bootprint. Snowflakes would cover my eyelashes and nose and sometimes I would even try to pick out and catch the biggest flakes on my tongue. We would head out to do whatever chores needed to be done and then it was time for fun. I never remember how exactly it would start, but sometimes there would be a snowball lobbed in my direction or comment made about the packing quality of the snow, but soon grandpa and I (and sometimes my little brother) would be immersed in whatever snowy activity we had chosen for the day. Hours would pass and finally, the cold would begin to penetrate our noses and fingers first, then finally our feet. Grandpa would normally ask if we were hungry and my answer was always a resounding yes. We would stand back, admire our handiwork, and then head to eat.

Grandma would always be prepared with something piping hot, normally Campbell’s tomato or chicken noodle soup from a can and a grilled cheese sandwich. Those lunches were the best as the steam melted the icicles off my eyelashes and thawed out my frozen nose and cheeks. The rest of the afternoon normally entailed some reading under a warm blanket and often a nap. Then it would be evening and my mom would be pulling into the driveway to pick us up after her long day of work.

Those days may be in the past, but I’m lucky now to be blessed with a dog that absolutely adores winter and puts up with my crazy shenanigans. She loves to build snowmen with me; helping in her own special way by either digging up tons of snow or licking him until he turns to ice. She loves to traipse in the snow and would gladly spend hours exploring every nook, cranny and path in the great outdoors. More times than not, I’m the one who forces us to come in because I’m starving. And while I’m now in charge of making my own soup and sandwiches, grandma’s sandwiches still win, hands down.

So while this winter weather may not be your cup of tea, there is beauty in it. The sheer magic of the world becoming quieter when blanketed in a coat of snow; the science that goes into the making of each unique and different snowflake; and the beauty of a deep coat of white, all combine to make winter my favorite time of year..

Now don’t mind me, it’s time for Bella and me to go build a snowman. After all, it’s perfect packing snow.

Submitted by Christen Clemson, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau, who completed her doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University. She and her family farm in Mecca Township.

 

OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.
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