Today I offer up two strange and seemingly contradictory items of gratitude. Bear with me.
Gratitude #7: Dry Pavement. Oh how I miss thee! This morning I woke at 4:30 AM to nearly a foot of unexpected snow. I say unexpected because yesterday the kids were roaming the neighborhood without coats, and Clark drove his ’67 Camaro (note: not a winter vehicle) to the grocery store.
I also say unexpected because it was completely unpredicted. Apparently Anchorage mothers and meteorologists were equally shocked.
In this house (and I suspect many others) the snow caused a mad dash to round up the kids’ hats-boots-gloves-snowpants-coats before I left for work. I lovingly tucked gloves and hats in their backpacks, laid out their snow bibs and coats, and rummaged through the garage for last winter’s snow boots. Their toes might be cramped, but at least they would be warm.
With that task complete I hopped in the car and headed to work. I wasn’t even out of the driveway before I realized I should have given a shout out to dry pavement weeks ago.
The snow is here, which means the roads will be a wet mess for the next several months. Sometimes an icy mess, sometimes a snowy mess, and often a scary mess. You can find me inching down our curvy road in second gear, or in the slow lane of the highway cursing every driver who needs to merge in next to me. Because this means I need to slide over, and oftentimes I can’t get back. The last thing I want is to be the slow lady in the fast lane, getting flipped off by every lunatic in a jacked up 4×4 who races around me as if it’s a sunny day in July.
I love Alaska, but from November-ish to March-ish I detest driving here. I hate the mechanical rrrrrrt-rrrrrt-rrrrrt sound my anti-lock breaks make when I try to stop. I hate feeling like my rear end is going to flip my front end into a tailspin. And most of all I despise when people cruise past me at speeds that are far too fast for conditions.
I’m a normal driver on dry pavement, but when the roads are slick I’m passive to the point of problematic. I’m working on it.
So on this date of our city’s first snowfall, I acknowledge my deep appreciation for dry pavement and how much I will miss it in the coming months.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
The kids can’t get enough. The dog is going wild. Because guess what? It’s the first snowfall of the season. For Tess Dog, who is almost 7 months, it’s the first snowfall of her life!
When we arrived home from school, the kids flew out of the car. They had lunch boxes to unpack and homework to complete, but I didn’t care. The doorbell was dinging and every kid in the neighborhood was out squealing on a sled. What mother could say no to the lure of fresh powder and fresh air?
Which brings me to Gratitude #8: First Snow.
Fresh snow is always amazing, but the season’s first snow is pure magic. Children skip from their beds and press their warm little noses to frosty windows, peering out at the clean slate of sparkling powder below. Their skin is immune to the cold, probably because the joy that radiates from their hearts provides all the heat they need. My kids spend hours soaring down sledding hills, slinging snowballs, and assembling snowmen before asking for a hot cocoa break. They track critters and make paths of their own. It’s pure maniacal joy!
Speaking of maniacs… the dog was a bundle of hilarious. She was leaping and bounding, chasing sleds and chomping snowballs. She was absolutely ecstatic.
I admit, I will miss driving on dry pavement. But as long as we’re home in time to throw snowballs at sunset, I think life in the slow lane is worth it.