Every season has its joys. Spring, with the endless supply of muddy puddles, fresh air and tilling the garden. Summer, with ventures into the backwoods, fireworks, nature hikes, splash pads and barbecue a-plenty. Fall, and its post-season baseball, paired with the onset of photo opportunities against a sweater-inducing backdrop. And, of course, Winter; sometimes miserable, sometimes beautiful, always unpredictable, yet never the less magical. It’s particularly wonderful on those rare-perfect days when the air is still and crisp, the snow falls gently and there’s nary a sound to be heard; the perfect days for strapping on the snow pants and heading outside.
Therein, perhaps, lies one of the most difficult, overwhelming, time-consuming and patience testing endeavours that any parent will ever go through in their life. Forget the first steps, first words, first day of school, fist text messages, first dates, kisses, boyfriends, tattoos, insta posts, boomerangs, tik-toks or clap-backs. If you can get that first leg into their snow pants in under 45-minutes after making the decision to head outside, then you’ve won parenthood. And now, three tantrums and two bathroom breaks later (and the kids have’t been much better), you’re ready to venture into the outdoors. Cash in your chips and call it a win. Just don’t tell any other parents about your victory; no one likes a gloater.
Packing snow is doesn’t always come when you want it to, but when it does the imagination runs wild, and only then do we get to truly explore the beauty of sculptures in snow. We scoop, stack and shovel heaps of that sparkly white, somewhat fluffy, perfectly cold gift from the skies to form somewhat of a cove in our backyard which measures no greater than 6 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. To those less imaginative and playful it’s nothing more than that: a horse shoe-shaped alcove of heavy, white nuisance. But to our girls and I, it’s a castle. A fortress made impenetrable to any offence, and it’s the most elaborate structure ever conceived by human-kind.
We sit in our glacial palace, drink our hot cocoa, revelling in our architectural accomplishment and I am brought back to memories of playing in the snow and building similar structures with my brother when we were kids. I don’t remember every fort from every age or the precise dates in which they were built, but that’s not the point. The point is that our parents allowed us the opportunity to freely explore the outdoors, discover the world and, simply put: have fun in nature. That level of make believe, where the notion that Luke Skywalker’s x-wing crashed directly behind our house, a.k.a Hoth, is entirely within the realm of possibility, is the kind of fantastical world-building that I want for our kids because, well, that’s precisely where I personally reside and I don’t exactly want to live alone.
Not to suggest that I don’t differentiate between reality and make-believe, but I do respect the space where a harmless level of fun that explores a countless degrees of creativity and imaginative play meets the hardships of day to day living. We as a species need to be allowed to escape once in a while and just be…kids. Not to mention that, with all of the hassles , hardships, nuances and costs that accompany adulthood: imagination is free and doesn’t require a fibre line.
Please don’t misinterpret me here. Winter, at the best of times, can suck. But so can any season. Garbage slowly rearing it’s face beneath a blanket of melting slush and that dreaded lost hour of sleep when the clocks change in Spring. The scorching heat, constant weeding and bee stings in the Summer. Closing up the gardens, non-stop raking and the fear of the pending snow in Fall; every season has it’s downsides. But as I grow tired of allowing my glass to fall below the halfway line, I choose to embrace both the pros and the cons with each turning page of the calendar. Puddles were made for splashing, dandelions were designed for making wishes and those piles of leaves would be wasted should no one jump in them.
So, the next time it snows that perfect snow, kids or no kids, you can choose to either embrace the freshly fallen opportunity that has bestowed you and build that magical snowman, design the idyllic castle or fortress of solitude and relive those childhood memories, all the while creating new ones for the next generation. It’s either that or just shovel the driveway, scrape off the car and move on with your day. For me, I choose infinite possibilty.