Thursday, December 8, 2016

Snow Globe World

It is snowing as I sit at my desk. Fat flakes sifting down outside the window. The evergreens along the driveway are, suddenly, adorned in winter white. The red splash of a December-blooming geranium on the inside of the glass contrasts with the snow globe scene beyond.

After last winter’s dismal snowlessness and too-warm temperatures, I’m almost afraid to hope the snow will stay this year, hesitant to picture the brown of the field buried in a blanket of cold white. But somebody is shaking the snow globe hard today. I hope it keeps coming.

In this busiest of busy months – with presents to select and wrap, decorating to do, cookies to bake, Christmas cards to write, parties to attend, school concerts – it is easy to feel overwhelmed. I love Christmas – the magic and festivity and excited anticipation – but in these busy December days I sometimes feel far behind, stressed out, overbooked.

Snow makes it better.

It also makes it harder to concentrate. I want to get outside, back on my skis, back on the mountain. We had one measly excuse for a powder day last year. Maybe, I think, this will be my only chance. But there is too much to do today. Too many deadlines. There is no time for a long outing to the mountain, booting up, riding chairlifts, floating through new snow.

Instead, I’ll dig out the old cross-country skis I never used last winter. Find the faux leather boots that are cracking at the edges. Glide through the field, whose stubbly vegetation, cut roughly by the bush hog, catches my skis now and then.

Into the woods with the puppy.

She’s just a few months old, still learning about the world around her. A world transformed now by white. At first, she bites at the tapered tips of my skis, pouncing as they move. But she’s a quick learner, and a few glides into the trek, the pup is running alongside me. Fast, excited, wondering what this new adventure is.

She pushes her nose into the cold snow when we pause, comes up with a faceful of white.

The snow keeps falling. White fluff floating onto the wide hemlock boughs that stretch over the trail. My old skis glide across this first winter layer, skimming over the brittle, barely-frozen leaves that fell in autumn and are not yet fully covered.

The puppy runs ahead, whimpering softly now and then. She’s never been this far into the woods and is happy when we reach the yard again, relieved at the familiarity of home.

Tomorrow, as they do every morning in December, counting backwards from 25, my children will remind me exactly how many days are left until Christmas. I’ll inhale, fighting anxiety over all there is still to do. Exhale. It is snowing. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas – and more ski treks through quiet of snowy woods.

Original content by Meghan McCarthy McPhaul, posted to her Blog: Writings From a Full Life. This essay also appears as Meghan's Close to Home column in the December 9, 2016 edition of the Littleton Record.

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