Winter has come to visit Kansas, yet again. It's first noticeable appearance is when I feel the whisk of a cool breeze on my face and hear the rustling of the trees as I watch the leaves float aimlessly to the ground. Secondly, I notice the night comes earlier and the greens surrounding my neighborhood park are replaced with yellows, oranges, and red. Thirdly, it rains, filling the air with its moist autumn scent. From that moment on, every night I watch the local weatherman, anxiously waiting to hear that little four letter word, snow.
Who doesn't love winter? Every season has it's reason. Winter is snow, ice cycles, frozen ponds, friends and family. When I was a kid and we got that first huge wet snow fall, the first thing I did was bundle up and run outside. It was a race to get my snowman made before any of the other kids in the neighborhood. But as it turns out, I wasn't the only one with that bright idea. I would start building from a small scoop of snow. I needed to be sure that the consistency was just right for packing. When all the snow from the front yard was used up, I would get the wheel barrow from the side of the house and a shovel. The backyard was soon baron and brown. Charcoal, sticks, an old hat and scarf brought my snowman to life. Back into the house I trudged for a hot bowl of cream of wheat with lots of sugar and milk.
Fallen ice cycles were the next joy. I couldn't wait for those giant, glistening popsicles to fall from the sides of the house. I would pick them out of the mounds of snow from when Dad shoveled the driveway. I would inspect them to make sure they weren't dipped in yellow snow and lick them. They never tasted like anything at all. It's just what kids do. Ice cycles also make excellent swords. If mine broke in an ice cycle fight, that made me the loser. It didn't matter, there were usually plenty to start up another battle.
There was a pond over by a graveyard that would freeze over and lots of families would take their kids there to skate. I didn't have skates and it really didn't matter because the ice was so slick regular shoes were just as good. Everyone would skate and slip and slide. It was a blast. Sometimes it would be too crowded to really get a good run and slide going, but it was still fun. Afterward, I would go home with my family for hot chocolate with giant marshmallows.
I am reminded of those childhood days every time it snows. Every chance I get I recreate them by making snow angles, having a snow ball fight with my own kid. I would chase my son around with my new found ice cycle light saber and when we were tired and cold from running through the snow drifts we would go inside for a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows.