Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Winter of Childhood Memories

When I was a small child in rural Massachusetts, winter was unrelenting. The snow would fall in late November and stay on the ground until March or even April. The wind would howl, numbing our fingers and reddening our cheeks.

At first we would rejoice in building snowmen or igloos, but after a while — as the snow took on a copper crust — we would grow weary and long for spring.

At least, that's how I remember it. The fact is, there probably were long stretches without snow. Every Christmas wasn't a white Christmas. And the occasional warming trend would let us ditch our coats for an afternoon.

But my mind prefers to paint my childhood winters in white.

When we moved to California, snow became an object of nostalgia. And the threat of global warming made the frigid winters of my youth seem all the more like a bygone era.

So I wonder if when my own children think back to their winters in New York, this past season won't be the one they remember.

It was bitterly cold, and snow really was on the ground for months. Even now, on the last day of winter, the brown snowdrifts have survived — barely.

We built snowmen, tunnels and snowball forts.

In short, it was a season of childhood memories and I'm glad the kids got to experience it.

But I'm also glad it's over.