The drifts were as tall as the garage roof, blocking access to the car, keeping us at home. The power line to our house sagged so low under its white blanket that my six year old fingers could touch it on tip-toes. The drifting snow pushed my mother’s favorite dogwood to the ground. It never fully recovered, living it’s life bent over like an old woman.
We busied ourselves digging tunnels and carving out caves in the massive drifts. Bundled in layers of wool, wrapped in scarves and mittens, only our rosied cheeks exposed, we didn’t feel the cold. The world had turned white and the landscape was new and strange and waiting for us to punch holes in its crust with our boots.
Everything is muffled when the world is wrapped in winter. It’s slower, brisker, denser, brighter. It’s made expressly for children to engineer, without interference from adults. Let them worry about work and power lines, this was our world now, and it was full of magic.
Eventually, a plow made it up our driveway, pushing the snow into a hard, white mountain against the woods at the bottom of the hill where the driveway turned sharply right, spilling out into the road. My uncle left a layer of packed snow on the straight portion of the drive for us. We pulled out our sleds, starting at the top of the hill and flew down, past our house, past the garage, banking right in hopes of turning with the bend of the drive to avoid crashing into the mountain of plowed snow.
Our creativity knew no bounds and the grown-ups were wise enough to leave us be. We tied ropes to the handles of the sleds and rode them standing up, using the rope to steer clear of the mountain. We even got the dogs on the sleds thinking they wanted a ride. They soon learned to stay away from us. Our snowmen were magnificent, taller than real men, with borrowed bits of clothing from our parents and found objects from our excavations. The tunnels we carved went all the way to the North Pole where we built igloos and became Eskimos.
I miss the snow.