Friday, October 28, 2005

The Smell of Winter


The palatable smell of winter is in the air lately.

You know what I mean – the abrasive biting quality that you sometimes catch a whiff of when you dig into the deep freezer for an ice cream bar – but less synthetic. As recognizable as the scent of rain, but not as comforting.

The all-too-short fall season is rapidly winding down. The end of October signals the bright splashes of color in the trees to begin to fade and sprinkle to the earth, leaving shaggy bare fingers raking the sky. Dry crinkly leaves rustle and whisper as the late autumn wind rudely nudges them on their way. The scent of wood fires and fuel oil permeates the air. Sculptured frost encrusts windshields, lawn furniture, and pumpkins, and squeaks under my feet.

It’s been a long time since I truly enjoyed winter. I thrive on balminess, color, and activity – winter holds very little of these characteristics for me. Many years ago, though, winter was an exciting time. There was much more snow here then, and friends and I would stay out, making forts and snowmen and angels and having snowball fights until we could no longer feel our extremities. We would look like snowmen ourselves, with the mess of winter caked into our hats, gloves, clothes and hair. I can remember my mom hustling me downstairs to the laundry room to get out of my wet things and into dry warm clothes. I remember my corduroys standing up by themselves, flared legs frozen into stiff frosty bells. And the pain of thawing out! Sharp, prickly stabs in quick progression, like a sewing machine with a scrillion needles.

Recalling it now, it was such a sweet pain.

I’m on the other side now. Soon I’ll be wanting rather to curl up in a pile of quilts by the fireplace than to run out and explore the frozen world. I’ll be fretting over whether everyone is dressed warmly enough, and will be chasing little wet feet and sloppy paws with the old towels. But I’m also expecting that things will come full circle. The Hub and I will be reliving what it was which made this dreadful time of year fun through the eyes and antics of Incrediboy. We’ll pass on the skills needed for creating a flawless snow angel, and compacting and launching a perfectly aerodynamic snowball. And have you ever noticed how without the muffling leaves, those bare, gray branches create the perfect acoustics for echoing laughter?

Twenty-five years is long enough to go without building a snowman. :)

12 comments:

Bainwen Gilrana said...

I'm almost embarrassed to say this, but.... I've never built a snowman.

I didn't move up north until I was 14, so this "snow" stuff has always seemed alien, like something I would do best to avoid. All gray and slushy and icy.

My mom always tells me that there used to be a lot more snow when she was a kid, and that it was actually mostly white instead of mostly slushy gray.

Maybe it's one of those things that has to be learned in childhood to be appreciated. :-)

naive-no-more said...

I hear it in your writing! You're back ~ at least creatively if not permantely to your blog.

This is a perfect entry! *clapping hands excitedly*

McSwain said...

Welcome back!!!! I grew up in snow country, and every winter here in L.A. I just miss it so. You described it so, so perfectly. You, Hub, & Incrediboy will have so much fun making snowmen! Take an extra toboggan ride for me too, will you?

Lori said...

This is wonderful! I remember, as a child, doing all of these things: bread sacks inside our rubber boots and "winter" clothes that didn't come close to the wonderful thermal things they have now. I loved snow.

Now that I'm all grown up (sorta), its magic isn't as magical. Dealing with icy roads, slush and then the muddy aftermath leaves little in the charm department. But...I remember seeing it all over again when my kids were little. It does take you back momentarily to the enchantment. Enjoy and savor showing your little guy the magic.

Missed you! Welcome back!

martie said...

When you get too cold, even though it's a bit of a drive, you are welcome to sit by my fireplace! ;)

Nicole said...

Welcome back! Good to see..err..read you! You have been missed!

Living in another part of snow country I can honestly say that I prefer looking at snow through the windows than actually diving into it head first as I did when I was young...isn't it amazing what we'll do for our little people?

JAX said...

Wow, I'm not a big fan of winter but you sure sold me Clew.

curious servant said...

nicely done.

Rebecca said...

Clew is back! And rumor has it -- Max will be shortly too.... :)

Sigh...life can go back to normal in blogland. :)

I'm kidding of course....although it is really nice to have you back. Love to hear your thoughts and read your words. I'm ready to go build a snowman with the potential flurries we just may get today! :)

Harry Yak said...

adulthood can put the kabosh on a lot of things that used to be fun in childhood.

nice post.

Bougie Black Boy said...

Glad to see Clew back. She's the queen of quality writing!

Can't wait til Max comes back. He's my inspiration to enter into manhood.

Ruben said...

Clew you sure do paint a "purrrrrrrrrrrrty" picture. lol