Here in Cheyenne, Wyoming we’ve had thirty plus inches of snow. Our doctors and nurses have been catching rides to work on snow mobiles and we’re going on our 3rd school snow day, which never happens here. In this part of Wyoming, as long as the roads are clear, the kids are in school. Here, we even go out for recess, as long as it is above zero degrees and the wind isn’t too terrible. On those days, I like to put snow ambiance on the smart board in our elementary library. My favorites are the forest ones from Chronicles of Narnia, but today there is no need for ambiance. The kids can look out their windows and see over two feet of snow.
It’s beautiful outside, to be sure. Snow always feels like an absolute miracle to me. It looks like a Christmas card in my backyard with trees dripping sparkling snow that looks good enough to eat. I can’t help but think Snowflake Bentley would be camped outside with his camera if he had this kind of snow. After reading the book about the man who first photographed snowflakes in Vermont to my 4th grade classes, I can’t look at snow without thinking of him out in a blizzard paying no mind to the cold. When I was a kid, I barely knew about Vermont, let alone snowflakes.
When I was growing up in Northeastern Oklahoma, My siblings and I would beg God for snow. When we looked outside and saw the flakes swirling through the air, we prayed for a snowday. And when snow managed to stick to the red earth and schools really shut down, we’d spend the few hours it stayed around trying to build a snowman, making snow angels, and creating trails in the woods with a dirt shovel because we didn’t own one for snow. Nobody did, as it was a useless tool where we lived. Later, when I lived in California for a time, I witnessed the snow of the Sierra Nevadas and was so dazzled by it I learned how to ski. A day skiing at Donner Pass when I was a college student was something I thought I’d want to do forever. Later, when I moved to Wyoming, I found all the snow I ever wanted and spent a few years skiing in it. Finally, snow! But that is all in the past.
It may come as a surprise after telling you how much I used to long for snow, but now that I know the difference between a garden shovel and a snow shovel, I’m good. Snow in all its glittering beauty has finally lost its magical effect on me. The little girl that used to grab a garden shovel to make snow tracks is now happy to let her husband grab his real snow shovel and head out to the driveway. It’s true. No matter how many friends I see posting pics of themselves shoveling beside their husbands on social media, I don’t feel at all guilty when my hubby tells me, “I’ve got this,” as he bundles up and pulls on his snow boots. It’s not like he thinks I’m incapable of pushing a snow shovel, but he already knows why it’s not my favorite chore. Trust me, I’ve shoveled my share of snow.
When I was a single mom and later when my husband traveled, I shoveled my way out more than once. When a friend stopped by to help or a neighbor lumbered over with a second shovel, I was always grateful. But I shoveled by myself or with my daughter many times in the past, so now when my husband says he’s got it, I let him. Maybe it’s the empty nester in me, but I feel comfortable in the fact that I know how to shovel my way out of the house just fine, as I’ve done before, but I don’t have to do that anymore.
During this Snowmageddon, I like the fact that my hubby is teleworking in the office nearby and that I’m surrounded by mountains of books and research. I like seeing pics of my daughter playing in the snow with college friends over in Laramie, while I sit here watching the ambiance of slowly melting snow outside my window, hearing the rumble of the snow plows finally making their way through town, and the occasional crunch of a snow shovel when my hubby decides he needs a quick break outside.
“I’ve got it,” he says. And I’m happy that everything I love about him can, for a moment, be summed up in that one little phrase.
Tina Ann Forkner is a school librarian, writing instructor, and published author from Wyoming. Learn more about her books here.