My sons have had a disappointing fall for exactly the same reason that everyone else has had such an enjoyable one: there has been no snow. There have been some false alarms, of course, when they woke in the morning to see a skiff of whiteness on the grass, rushed excitedly through their morning routines, and ran into the backyard, only to find that no amount of effort would produce snowmen or even snowballs from the tissue deep snow that was melting around them even as they tried. There was great suffering on those days.
This morning, however, this lovely morning, when most of southern Ontario rose dejectedly to the reality of another winter, when commuters everywhere cursed the first car cleaning and driveway shoveling of the year, my sons were elated. At last there was snow, real snow, snow enough, and packing snow besides, and their was nothing short of jubilation in the house. I could hardly get them to eat breakfast, so worried were they that everything would melt again before the had a chance to pile it, roll it, build it, and throw it, but the wait only served to increase their already heady degree of anticipation.
They built a snowman, or rather, I built a snowman under their very close supervision, and they stuck its head full of sticks and leaves and assorted vegetation. They made snowballs, hundreds of them, and peppered the front wall of our porch, which was made to play the roles, one after the other, but in close succession, of pirates, bad-guy-knights, and Darth Vader. They rolled down the hill until the snow, only a degree or so above melting, had soaked through every layer I had put on them. They were cold and wet and entirely fulfilled.
What is more, they distracted me from the December ritual of marking papers long enough to play with them, and I found that maybe I still like the first snow of the year more than I thought I did, and that maybe I can still find some pleasure in building snowmen and throwing snowballs, even if rolling down the hill is now beyond me. Of course, my recovered sense of joy in the snow might have something to do with the fact that I had no car to clean this morning and that I have still not shoveled the driveway, but it was a joy nevertheless, whatever the reasons.