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. :)