Snow day

We got a nice snowfall today, those tiny dry flakes that are nearly invisible until suddenly you’ve got several inches to contend with. I walked the two blocks up to the elementary school to pick up my son. I must confess I was feeling both snug and smug in my red down coat and my gray cashmere scarf and my brown fur-lined boots. The snow was still very fresh; the sky was grey and there was that particular quietness that you only get from several inches of powdery snow. Wet packing snow you can hear under your feet, you know, but the dry powdery stuff is near silent.

As I approached the front door of the school a little girl came out. She was snug and smug in her own coat, scarf, boots. She had tied her sneakers by the laces and was carrying them over her shoulder. For a second I thought they were ice skates — because that’s how the cool kids carry their skates, laces tied together and hung over one shoulder — and I was hit by a feeling so sharp and visceral that tears sprang to my eyes.

In that moment I was ten years old again and getting ready to go ice skating. You see, I was lucky enough to grow up in a neighborhood where every winter they made a giant skating rink in the park across the street. If you’ve only ever been skating in indoor rinks where you have to pay admission, where the ice is always smooth, where everyone has to skate in the same direction and Crack the Whip isn’t allowed, well… I guess that’s better than nothing, but give me an outdoor rink any day. An outdoor rink, and silent snow falling, and it’s cold enough that you can’t stand to be out there for more than half an hour and then you come home and your mother makes cups of cambric tea for you and your sister and there are giggles and cold hands tingling and eventually the redness in your cheeks subsides.

Leave a comment


  1. Reader, Writer, Runner.

     /  January 12, 2011

    Ahhh, those nostalgic moments that sneak up on you when you are least expecting them!

  2. I have always thought it would be fun to ice skate outdoors. I never had the opportunity growing up since we lived in California, and now that I’m quickly approaching 40 and haven’t attempted ice skating in over 20 years I’m sure it would not be a pretty sight ~ LOL :)

  3. Oh, Mo, this is a lovely post. It brought back so many childhood memories. I grew up on a lake and spent so much time ice skating. We wouldn’t go back inside until our feet were completely numb with cold. Thanks for the flashback.

  4. Thank you for reading and leaving such nice comments! Today the snow is already getting dirty, wet and heavy. As I was out there shoveling I tried to re-create the feeling from yesterday but it just wasn’t the same…


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