While visiting family below the Mason-Dixon line, a curious cousin leaned forward to ask an important question. In a whisper normally reserved for wakes and hospitals, she asked me what winter was like. If she were wearing pearls, she would have clutched them while asking. Instead, she put a hand to her chest in a dramatic motion.
I told her winter was wonderful. I described trees flocked with snow against the bluest winter sky, mist rising from the river in the crisp dawn morning, and sunlight glittering like diamonds over a snow-filled meadow. She looked doubtful. I handed her my phone, and for the next hour she flipped through winter photos, growing more and more impressed. At one point she told her husband, “Honey, we need to visit her in winter.”
I thought of her this weekend as I began preparations for the winter storm that would shut down multiple highways, bury cars and knock out power throughout the state.
To prepare for a huge snowstorm, the first thing to do was to put my affairs in order. By that I mean eating tacos at El Sabor Norteño.
After my tacos were all ingested, and affairs in order, I took a ski lesson from Ray at Sun Mountain Lodge. I’m a terrible skier with no coordination or athletic skill. I figured with all this snow on the way, I better figure out how to get from point A to B with my boots locked onto long narrow boards. Ray gave excellent guidance, and with some pointers on kicking, gliding, and a lesson on how to stop, I felt ready for snowmageddon.
The next stop was Hank’s Harvest Foods. I had to stock up on macaroni and cheese, chocolate, and donate to a good cause. When you use your own reusable bag, the cashier will give you a wooden nickel to donate to a local nonprofit. At the front of the store are large glass jars for eight local nonprofits in the valley. Drop your wooden nickel into any jar of your choosing, and Hank’s will donate a real nickel to that nonprofit. Donate to a good cause and reduce waste at the same time, all while stocking up for the next big storm.
After winter clouds disgorged their load of snow, we strapped on skis and floated through a hushed landscape. Tree limbs shrugged burdens of show, springing back into formation in a cloud of sparkling ice crystals. Throngs of birds serenaded the forest — flitting from tree to tree as we glided our way below.
I’ll take the red cheeks, the cold fingers and numb toes for these fleeting moments of winter beauty above the Mason-Dixon line.