While I cannot deny the existance of shoveling, plowing, dangerous driving, collapsed roofs and other inconveniences, in this, the week before Thanksgiving, I am feeling thankful for snow. I have noticed that sometimes my fellow Alaskans can forget to feel thankful for snow.
First, I am thankful for the beauty of it. In a few hours the bare mud and brown sticks of autumn are transformed into a dazzling wonderland with diamonds scattered by the sackful around my yard. Snow draws a merciful veil over the broke down cars and splintered outbuildings which are the hallmark of Alaskan landscaping.
I am thankful for the way snow opens up the world around me. The mountains behind my house, previously an impenetrable tangle of deadfall and briars, become accessible, my snowshoes taking easy bites from a glittering white trail, cleaned and smoothed with every new snowfall. Where my summertime walk ends at the shores of the lake, my wintertime ski takes me over and across with barely a hitch in stride.
I am thankful when the snow shows me how full of life our winter world is. A fresh inch reveals that what I thought was a riverside still life is, in fact, a riot of activity. The loping heart shaped prints of rabbits can be seen next to the tiny scampering loops of squirrels, all dotted with spruce cone scales. Here is where the river otter slid down to the river, and where the long-clawed barefoot bear got up from his bed to take a drink of water.
I am thankful for the way my daughter’s eyes sparkle and her cheeks glow rosy after a day of playing outside. After sledding, skiing, fort building, snowman making and snowball throwing, no one asks to stay up past bedtime. This, in turn, brings up my own happy memories of growing up with snow; of falling asleep watching the flakes float down past my black windowpanes, each one a tiny feathery reminder of all the promise that the coming day hold
So, the next time all that scraping, sanding, salting and slipping has got you feeling down, take a moment to remember how you used to catch snowflakes on your tongue, and remember to be thankful for all the wonderful things that this world has to offer. Even snow. Especially snow.